Get Out made $255 million at the box office (on a $4.5 million budget) and was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Director and Best Actor, which is impressive for any movie, but especially a horror-comedy about systemic racism. But despite the heavy subject material, the film, from visionary Jordan Peele (who’s up for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay), ends on a relatively crowd-pleasing note. (Spoilers follow, obviously): Chris gets away with killing the Armitage family, including cereal-eating “girlfriend” Rose, with help from his TSA buddy Rod.
But there was almost a different, much darker conclusion.
In an oral history of the film with Vulture, the Get Out team discussed the original ending, where instead of Rod rescuing Chris, it’s the police and he’s thrown in jail. “The audience was absolutely loving it, and then it was like we punched everybody in the gut,” producer Sean McKittrick said. “You could feel the air being sucked out of the room… We weren’t in the Obama era, we were in this new world where all the racism crept out from under the rocks again. It was always an ending that we debated back and forth, so we decided to go back and shoot the pieces for the other ending where Chris wins.”
One ending is an escape; the other is the “sad truth,” as McKittrick put it. Even the cast is split on which works better. Daniel Kaluuya said he loved the original ending, “because of what it said about life — there’s this black guy who’s really cool and went through this trauma, got through all this racism, and in fighting for himself he gets incarcerated,” while Bradley Whitford called the actual ending “absolutely brilliant, non-lecturing storytelling” for making you understand through Chris’ point of view that “if the cops come, he’s a dead man.” Peele, who ultimately sided with Whitford, thinks he came up “with a better ending.”
I think my improv training just put me in this mind frame of, with each problem, there’s not one solution, there’s not two solutions, there’s an infinite amount of great solutions. That includes the ending. When I realized the original, downer ending wasn’t working, I didn’t freak out. I looked at it as an opportunity to come up with a better ending. (Via)
Maybe he’s saving the bummer finale for the sequel.