The Alternate Ending of ‘Pretty In Pink’ and Why It Was Axed

Pretty in Pink is a quintessential 1980s coming-of-age film that has continued to draw new audiences for decades. Directed by Howard Deutch and written by the legendary John Hughes, this high school romance drama tells the story of Andie Walsh, played by Molly Ringwald, and her complicated love triangle with two boys from opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum.

Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer and Andrew McCarthy in Pretty in Pink.

Despite its popularity, few fans are aware of the original ending, which was scrapped after poor reception from test audiences. So, let’s talk about the alternate ending of Pretty in Pink, its development, reasons for its rejection, and the aftermath of reshooting the iconic prom scene, which involved Andrew McCarthy suddenly donning a wig.

The Original Vision

John Hughes, the creative genius behind Pretty in Pink, is well-known for his iconic 1980s comedies like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He is also responsible for launching the careers of the Brat Pack, a group of young actors who frequently starred in his films. It was during the height of Hughes’ career that Pretty in Pink was born.

In the original script, Andie Walsh, a working-class high school student, finds herself caught in a love triangle between her childhood best friend, Duckie (Jon Cryer), and the rich, charming Blane McDonough (Andrew McCarthy).

The heart of the story revolves around Andie’s decision to stay true to her roots or pursue a relationship with the wealthy Blane. In the original ending, Andie chooses Duckie, with the two sharing a romantic dance on the prom floor to Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness.”

The Test Screening Debacle

The original ending was shot and ready for release, but when presented to test audiences, it did not fare well. According to director Howard Deutch in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the test audiences were vocal about their dissatisfaction with Andie choosing Duckie over Blane. Many felt that Duckie, despite being a lovable and loyal friend, did not possess the chemistry with Andie that the audience desired.

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The negative response from test audiences led to a pivotal decision: reshoot the prom scene with a new ending. The revised conclusion would have Andie choosing Blane over Duckie, a decision that ultimately resonated with fans and became a defining moment in 1980s cinema.

Reshooting the Prom Scene

With a new ending in place, the cast and crew were tasked with reshooting the prom scene, which proved to be quite the challenge. At the time, Andrew McCarthy had shaved his head for another movie role. To overcome this, McCarthy was fitted with a wig to maintain continuity with his character’s appearance. In an interview with The New York Times, McCarthy described the wig as “the worst wig in the history of wigs.”

The Impact of the Pretty in Pink Alternate Ending

The decision to reshoot the prom scene and change the ending had a significant impact on the film’s legacy. Fans of Pretty in Pink were satisfied with Andie choosing Blane over Duckie. The revised conclusion mainly reinforced the notion that true love transcends social boundaries, which is what the test audience had hoped for all along.

Alternate ending Pretty in Pink.

The reshoot and new ending also had a profound effect on the careers of the film’s cast members. For example, Jon Cryer’s portrayal of Duckie earned him a place in the hearts of many, as his character’s unrequited love for Andie was a relatable and heartfelt storyline. Molly Ringwald continued to solidify her status as the Queen of the 1980s, starring in other John Hughes classics like Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club.

The Pretty in Pink soundtrack became a defining element of the 1980s musical landscape. Featuring songs by the Psychedelic Furs, New Order, and Echo & the Bunnymen, the soundtrack perfectly represented the decade. The title track, “Pretty in Pink” by the Psychedelic Furs, has become synonymous with the movie and remains an anthem of the era.

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There are many intriguing behind-the-scenes stories associated with Pretty in Pink. According to Mental Floss, Robert Downey Jr. was initially considered for the role of Duckie, but John Hughes ultimately chose Jon Cryer due to his endearing audition.

The cast of Pretty in Pink

Additionally, Anthony Michael Hall, a frequent collaborator of Hughes and a member of the Brat Pack, was reportedly offered the role of Blane but turned it down.

James Spader’s portrayal of Steff, a wealthy and manipulative friend of Blane’s, epitomizes the negative aspects of high school politics. Spader’s performance as the villain is a perfect example of class divides and social dynamics.

The Legacy of Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink inspired countless tributes, parodies, and references in various forms of media. The fashion and style of the movie, particularly Andie’s pink prom dress, have been emulated and celebrated for decades. The film’s characters continue to be relevant and relatable for a new generation, proving the lasting appeal of Pretty in Pink.

Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink

In 2011, Paramount Pictures released a Blu-Ray edition of Pretty in Pink to celebrate its 25th anniversary. This special edition included bonus features, such as behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the cast and crew, and insights into the making of the film.

The story behind the alternate ending of Pretty in Pink highlights the importance of audience feedback in shaping the final product. The decision to reshoot the prom scene and change the ending proved to be a defining moment in the film’s history.

If you enjoyed this article, check out our article, “These are The Best Movie Soundtracks of All Time.”

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