Prepare to be made to feel old by movies once again! Next year, 2024, will mark the 25th anniversary of Deep Blue Sea. A quarter of a century will have passed, more than half your lifetime if you are under 50 years old, since Renny Harlin’s shark thriller was released.


Renny Harlin was an absolute fixture on the late 80s and early 1990s movie circuit. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Cutthroat Island sit on his filmography alongside Deep Blue Sea. The movie came out among renewed interest in shark movies. Meg was set up as a rival production at another studio. Deep Blue Sea got there first, and Meg would languish in development hell for over two decades.

In the plus column for Deep Blue Sea is a really inventive concept, with some brilliant (for the time) animatronic sharks, some elaborate kills, and a sense of fun. In the negative column is some shockingly weak CGI, the feeling the whole thing needed one more script polish, and seeming rushed in places.


One of those places is the ending, and this is with good reason. The screenplay by Duncan Kennedy, Donna Powers, and Wayne Powers told the story of a sub-aquatic research facility where Dr. Susan McAlester is harvesting the brain tissue of DNA-altered sharks as a possible cure for Alzheimer’s disease. When the facility’s backers send an executive to investigate the experiments, a routine procedure goes awry and a shark starts attacking the researchers. Now, with sharks outnumbering their human captors, McAlester and her team must figure out a way to stop them from escaping to the ocean and breeding.

It was the breakout movie for lead Thomas Jane, who was joined by Saffron Burrows, L.L. Cool J, Jacqueline McKenzie, Michael Rapaport, Stellan Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson, and Aida Turturro.


**Spoilers For Deep Blue Sea**

Harlin gave an interview to Mandatory where he explained that there were some last-minute changes that completely altered the ending, and this happened just one month before release:

At the test screening the audience was really with the movie and when Sam Jackson gets eaten, the audience was screaming and laughing and we thought, okay, it’s a home run.


When it came to the last seven minutes of the film, all of a sudden it just fell flat like a pancake and people kind of hated it. We were like, what the hell happened? It just shows how sometimes you can be clueless and you’re so deep in the project that you can’t read the audience’s mind.


Basically what had happened was that the audience felt so deeply that the scientist character, the woman who was behind the whole experiment with the sharks (played by Saffron Burrows), that it was all her fault. In their minds, she was the bad guy and in our minds, she was the heroine and we thought saving her was the key.


Basically, we had test cards that said, ‘Kill the bitch.’ It was an amazing revelation.


I remember us all sitting down and going, ‘Holy shit, we are in trouble. How do we fix this?’ It was my idea, I said, ‘Okay, we don’t have time for a big reshoot but I have an idea. When she falls in the water, what if she doesn’t survive? She gets eaten by the sharks and L.L. Cool J is the hero. Everybody likes him, and Thomas Jane.


We did a one-day reshoot at Universal Studios’ tank and it was a really simple shoot we did in order to change the ending of it. We did some CG work on the sharks and stuff like that, but it was a super fast fix and it saved the movie because the audience got what they wanted. It just goes to show that no matter how smart we think we are, it’s the audience who will tell us how it’s really supposed to be.”

Now fans are organizing to tell distributor Warner Bros. that to celebrate the anniversary, it would be fun to release the film’s original ending. Star Thomas Jane has lent his support, and even Renny Harlin has made a financial contribution.


The organizer of the petition has said:

“The character of the film, Dr. Susan McAlester (Saffron Burrows) was recalled as a villain for her actions throughout the film, but it was already addressed in the film’s deleted scenes (and the film itself) that she wasn’t suppose to be. She regretted her decisions, and felt terrible after what she caused. And, for her to be the one who kills the shark at the end of the film made more sense to have her character arc completely resolved, and redeemed, other than having her die off for audience pleasure.”

So no Zack Snyder’s Justice League, maybe an internet special? Or something on Max including the deleted scenes? Any interest among Outposters? You can sign the petition right here.


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