10 Most Expensive Movie Scenes That Didn’t Made It To The Final Cut

By Bluei Fausto

From Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, to Suicide Squad, there comes a ton of Hollywood films that had some of their movie scenes deleted before making it to the big screen. While some of this deleted footage don’t inflict much difference to the overall flow of the film’s narrative, some can ultimately change the story and probable future franchise of these movies.

Sure, while there are tons of reasons why scenes are cut out from movies, such as shortening the film’s runtime or altering the narrative flow, the pool of cash that was used to fund those scenes cannot be retrieved despite matter the effort.

If you’ve ever wondered what could be the costliest scenes that were left on the cutting room floors, then here are the 10 notable ones you should know. Read on.

10. The Wizard Of Oz - The Jitterbug Dance


Cost: $1 million

As most movie buffs might know, the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz originally contained a dance number called The Jitterbug. In the lost sequence, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, are on their way to the Witch’s castle when they were attacked by evil bugs, which caused the gang to break out in six-minute long song and dance number.

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To date, although the music to the song exists, no known footage of the actual scene has been found after being cut to shorten the length of the picture.

9. Dr. Strangelove - The Pie Fight


Cost: $2 million (estimated)

While the acclaimed Dr. Strangelove that was presented in the theatre ended with a catastrophic nuclear chain reaction between the U.S. and the Soviets, its director, Stanley Kubrick, envisioned a far different and more satiric ending – with world leaders engaging in a chaotic pie war.

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In the deleted scene, Soviet Ambassador de Sadeski tossed custard pie towards US general Buck Turgidson after being warned about a strip search. However, in a leap of absurdity, the pie hits the American president instead, which resulted in the greatest pie war ever filmed in history.

The scene was later cut out from the final version of the film due to creative and political reasons.

8: Gangster Squad - Theater Shooting Scene


Cost: $2 million (estimated)

As some might already know, the 2013 American action crime thriller Gangster Squad originally includes a crucial scene where a team of gunmen attacked the audience of a certain theatre. However, in an eerie coincidence, a horrendous tragedy that involved a similar incident happened months before the release of the movie. Due to this, Warner Bros has decided to cut the scene from the movie out of respect to the victims of the theatre massacre that killed 12 people and injured 70 others during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

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Screenrant estimated the value of the deleted scene to be a staggering $2 million.

7: Back To The Future - Eric Stoltz Scenes


Cost: $8 million (estimated)

If you’re a fan of the Back to the Future series, you’ve probably heard that Eric Stoltz was initially cast for the role of Marty McFly, the main protagonist of the Back to the Future trilogy. However, while filming, creators Zemeckis and Gale realized that they would need to replace Stoltz with an actor who could perfectly wear the role. 

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They had negotiated with Universal to replace Stoltz with Michael J. Fox, whom they had long been eyeing for the role. The negotiation was reported to have cost them $4 million at the time (now $8 million when adjusted for inflation).

6: Little Shop of Horrors – The Original Ending


Cost: $10 million

While Little Shop of Horrors ended merrily on the big screen, it follows a different finale in the initial minds of the creators. 

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In a 23-minute sequence that was originally meant to be the ending of the movie, Audrey and Seymour are eaten by Audrey II, who later went on to dominate the world. Unfortunately, test audiences didn’t find the original ending to be appealing. With this, director Frank Oz and screenwriter Howard Ashman decided to ditch the original plan and create an alternative happy ending instead.

5: Superman Returns - Alternate Beginning


Cost: $10 million

Another film that has an extremely costly scene deleted from its final version is none other than the 2013 Superman Returns starring Brandon Routh. In the deleted sequence, Superman returned to his home planet Krypton, where he finds a barren rock laced with kryptonite.

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While the scene is indeed visually stunning, its lack of dialogue failed to impress the studio executives. With this, the creators of the film decided to cut out the scene and make an alternative opening for the movie instead.

Overall, the nearly six-minute shot was reported to have cost a whopping $10 million.

4: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote - The Entire Film


Cost: $21 million

The 2000 attempt to create a film adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote was perhaps one of the most expensive films ever created that didn’t even make it to the big screen. The film, which was supposed to star Hollywood A-listers Terry Gilliam, Johnny Depp, and Jean Rochefort was confronted with many problems while being filmed, among which include the presence of military bases in the site, a major flood, and Rochefort’s illness.

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Given the series of misfortunes that had dogged the shooting, the creators of the film decided to discontinue the project. It was not only until 2018 that Terry Gilliam succeeded in making The Man Who Killed Don Quixote into a film.

3: X-Men: Days of Future Past - Rogue’s Scenes


Cost: $22 million (estimated)

Since X-Men films are naturally packed with many actors, it’s not surprising to know that some characters are only provided with minimal screen time, including Anna Paquin whole played the character of Rogue in the film.

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According to the 2014 blockbuster, director Bryan Singer told Entertainment Weekly that the scenes of Rogue became extraneous” during the editing process. This has resulted in Paquin’s scenes being deleted from the final cut of the movie.

2: World War Z - Entire Third Act


Cost: $25 million

Similar to the cast of Little Shop of Horrors, World War Z’s finale wasn’t originally planned to end merrily. In fact, for the entire third act of the film, Brad Pitt’s plane was supposed to have landed in Russia, where he joined the anti-zombie army, while his wife was forced into prostitution in return for survival. Fortunately, the executives didn’t find the dark concept appealing, leaving Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard to come up with a new ending.

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Overall, the entire third act that was scrapped from the film was reported to have cost $25 million.

1: Cleopatra – More Than Half Of The Movie


Cost: $128 million

Finally, for the costliest deleted scenes in film history, no other movie has topped the scenes that were cut from the movie Cleopatra. 

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Originally, the film was over six hours long. However, after being pressured by Fox to shorten the runtime, director Joseph L. Mankiewicz cut down the picture to a four-hour-long movie.

Despite the success of the film, the cost of the deleted scenes remains to be astronomical, at a staggering $128 million.


Have you enjoyed reading our ‘most expensive’ list? Movie buff or not, it’s always a fun thing to know about the scenes that did not make it into the final cut of among the biggest movies in Hollywood.

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Which among these scenes do you wish you could have watched on the big screen?

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