Beetlejuice is a classic 1980’s film that’s celebrating its 30th anniversary today. However, if the movie stuck with its original ending, we may have viewed this film with a lot less reverence.
In the ending we know today, Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis’ characters the Maitlands save Winona Ryder’s character Lydia from marrying Michael Keaton’s iconic Betelgeuse. Davis’ character, Barbara, rides a sandworm through the house, killing Betelgeuse, and the Maitlands and Lydia dancing to Harry Belafonte’s “Jump the Line” to celebrate at the very end.
However, that’s not how the original movie ended. According to one of the film’s writers, Larry Wilson, in the original version of the screenplay, Lydia wants to live the rest of her lives with the Maitlands (who, if you haven’t seen the movie, are ghosts who live in her house). So she decides to set herself on fire to die and live with them forever.
Yeah, that’s pretty dark.
Executives at Warner Bros. asked the screenwriters to change the ending of the movie for something more upbeat, and that’s how we got the ending we all know and love.
But not all of Warner Bros. suggestions were quite as good. Wilson also said the executives didn’t like the name of the movie, and wanted to change the name to “House Ghost.”
We don’t think anyone would be talking about a movie called House Ghost 30 years later.