While fans are well aware that the film has two endings depending on which version you watch, they were not aware that the ending they saw was not what it was meant to be.
The Army of Darkness had a different ending where Bruce Campbell’s character awakens to a ruined civilization after miscalculating the potions needed for him to return. Universal Pictures thought the ending was too depressing and rejected the idea.
What Was the Film About?
The Army of Darkness is a comedy film released in 1992. It is about a 20th-century man who is accidentally transported back in time. To get home, he must go through a dangerous mission but accidentally summons the dead. While the film plays with several elements like time travel, zombies, and medieval times it was pretty ahead of its time. The hero faces several obstacles in the way but gets through them. (Source: IMDB)
Production and Development of the Film
The 1992 comedy was directed, co-written, and co-edited by Sam Raimi. The film was produced by Robert Tapert and distributed by Universal Pictures.
The initial budget for the film was set at $8 million during pre-production, but it was apparent that the amount was not enough. Universal Pictures decided to contribute at least half of the $12 million budget in anticipation of the film’s success. But because of the extensive scope and elaborate effects, Raimi, Tapert, and the lead actor Bruce Campbell put up $1 million of the funds to fund revisions made to the movie.
The filming started in the middle of 1991 and lasted for 100 days. It was shot during summertime at a huge castle set built by the edge of Mojave Desert. Everyone needed to adjust to the extreme conditions; very hot days and freezing nights.
With a limited budget, the cinematographer needed film on a schedule, Monday through Friday, for a limited number of hours. On weekends, the visual effects supervisor, William Mesa, shot the scenes. In addition to this, it was a challenge to take shots of Campbell, who had to learn and practice his battle scene choreography.
Bruce was cussing and swearing some of the time because you had to work on the number system. Sam would tell us to make it as complicated and hard for Bruce as possible. ‘Make him go through torture!’ So we’d come up with these shots that were really, really difficult, and sometimes they would take thirty-seven takes.William Mesa
The Original Ending
The film’s original ending was for Campbell’s character to swallow six drops of the potion to return to the present time. Unfortunately, he swallows seven drops instead and wakes up in a post-apocalyptic future where civilization is in ruins.
Universal Pictures was not happy about this ending as it was too negative and depressing. To make it more positive, the ending was refilmed. (Source: IMDB)
How Well Did the Film Do?
The film was officially released on February 19, 1993. On its first weekend, it earned about $4.4 million in the US and $32.5 million overall.
Army of Darkness won the Saturn Award for Best Horror Film and the Golden Raven. They were also nominated for several awards like; Best Make-Up and the Grand Prize at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival. (Source: IMDB)