Larry Wilson, one of the producers on Tim Burton’s 1988 hit film, Beetlejuice, talked with Yahoo recently and revealed a darker original ending and possible alternative title. The film celebrated its 30th anniversary this weekend, so it’s actually pretty cool to still find out new tidbits about such a popular and well-loved film.
The ending that we all know shows the dearly departed Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis) finally co-existing happily, and Beetlejuice-free, in their house with the Deetz family. Lydia (Winona Ryder) comes home to announce that she got an A on her math test, which prompts a joyful song and dance to Harry Belafonte’s “Jump In The Line.” Adorable and memorable, right?
Well, according to Wilson, Lydia was going to originally going to join Barbara and Adam in the afterlife. While I suppose that doesn’t sound too dark, it was the way that she was intended to go out. Wilson says,
“Our first ending was Lydia — she died in a fire and was able to join Barbara and Adam in the afterlife.”
Yikes, I really cannot imagine Lydia dying by fire on-screen. He goes on to explain why the ending was changed:
“A couple of people said to us, ‘Do you really think that’s a good idea? Is that really the message you want to be sending to the teenagers of the world? Die in a fire?’ So, yeah, it probably was darker.”
Within the conversation, Wilson also talked about an alternative title suggestion, which was (thankfully) dropped:
“The title that I remember being suggested, pretty much before the release, was House Ghost. I bet it was David Geffen who said no to that, and a big firm no. There were marketing people within Warner Bros. who thought no one would know what ‘Beetlejuice’ was, but they’d know what a house ghost was. Thank God [they went with Beetlejuice]. I would not like to be here talking about House Ghost the movie.”
I don’t know about you, but give me Harry Belafonte and Beetlejuice all day, please.
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