The 80s classic Pretty In Pink originally had a very different ending, but the test audience reaction forced the director and writer to change it. Audiences literally booed the idea of who Andie (Molly Ringwald) originally ended up! The new ending, however, wasn’t as predictable and left fans satisfied.
‘Pretty In Pink’ originally had Andie and Duckie getting together
The original ending of Pretty In Pink had Ringwald’s Andie getting together with Duckie, played by Jon Cryer. It turns out that audiences weren’t into the idea, despite Duckie’s infatuation with Andie and their give-and-take — because they wanted her to end up with the hot guy, Blane (Andrew McCarthy).
After test audiences got a look at it, they weren’t pleased with the ending and it had to be rewritten and reshot. The new ending had Andie getting the guy of her dreams and things looking up for Duckie with more of a potential love match than his friendzone relationship with Andie.
The director was shocked by the reaction to the original ending
In an interview with Uproxx, director Howard Deutch shared that he was surprised by how much test audiences hated the original ending.
“Shocked! Shocked!,” Deutch said about test audiences not liking it. He added that writer John Hughes was also floored. “Both of us were shocked, because the test screening was going like a dream come true. And then boom! The prom came, and everybody started booing. And it was like a nightmare! It was like, how did this happen? This story builds about true love and Duckie loved her! But, truly.”
He shared how Hughes worked out the ending that everyone knows and loves and Deutch said he learned a lesson. “John was able to come up with the changed ending because it worked better,” Deutch noted. “In the end, my lesson is that when women or a girl like Molly wants the cute boy, you can’t take that away from her regardless of the politics.”
“I remember Rob Reiner said, ‘You can’t give the princess the frog. So, I didn’t like it when he said it, but the point is that new ending, movies, to me, when they’re working, if it’s really working, it’ll tell you what it wants to be,” he added.
Hughes’ new ending involved Duckie’s sacrifice
Hughes rewrote the ending in a way that provided a better path for both Andie and Duckie and more of a surprise element. Deutch recognized that “there’s nothing surprising about Duckie winding up with her,” adding, “What’s surprising is, and just dramatically, you always want to be ahead of the audience. You want them to be invested, but you don’t want them to be able to see what’s going to happen, especially in a triangle. And that’s a triangle.”
He continued, “And you want to have them guessing to the very last second. And the fact that John engineered it in the rewrite that Duckie sacrificed her? He made that sacrifice, which is always more moving to me. That he put her first and was rewarded for it.”