DVD PREVIEW: <I>The Butterfly Effect</I> DVD Extras Could Include New Ending18 Jan, 2004 By: Fred Topel
Directors Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber have completed a director's cut of their first film, The Butterfly Effect, which they hope to include on the eventual DVD release that adds several scenes and an alternate ending.
The Butterfly Effect opens in theaters Jan. 23.
In the film, Ashton Kutcher plays a time traveler who tries to repair traumatic events from his childhood, but ends up making the present even worse with each change he makes.
“Even we realized that our ending was way too controversial and freaky to be in any sort of theatrical release,” Bress said. “We want this to make money, too.”
Gruber added, “The theatrical ending we think is a great ending, and thematically, our ending and that ending are the same. It's just how we go about it [that's different].”
The film was in development for several years, and New Line took many risks in letting these first-time writer/directors explore controversial themes in a mainstream sci-fi film. It was in that spirit that the studio allowed the filmmakers the opportunity to go even darker for a possible DVD release.
“At least they allowed us to shoot our ending, because we knew [the subject was debated] back and forth,” Gruber said. “That was one of the problems over the years. Everyone thought the ending was amazing, but they didn't know for a mass release how audiences would fare with that. But they were like, ‘Cool, you've got the opportunity,' and thank God for DVDs.”
Bress was particularly thankful that the studio was open to the possibility of including their deleted scenes and reconstituting them into the film.
“New Line was amazing,” Bress said.
The differences between the director's cut and the theatrical cut were not the results of test audiences' comments. In fact, the DVD would be the first time the director's cut has ever been screened at all.
“It really has not been tested in front of an audience,” Bress said. “We were in such a time crunch to finish the real movie and not be too concerned about these extra scenes, we really just didn't have that opportunity, and things were pretty much locked [for the theatrical cut].”