Moviegoers checking out Fox Searchlight’s sci-fi horror thriller 28 Days Later in theaters after July 25 will get to see director Danny Boyle‘s original, darker ending, which is being added to 1,200 prints. According to the studio, the message “What if…” will appear after the film’s final credits, followed by the alternate ending.
The ending as it is now was the original ending in the script, but Boyle and Garland replaced it during production with a bleaker scene set in a hospital. Though it was included in the first cut of the film, ultimately the 4-1/2 minute long scene was ditched in favor of the original ending.
What’s more, moviegoers can e-mail their comments about the ending directly to Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland at firstname.lastname@example.org and the filmmakers’ responses will be posted on a message board at Foxsearchlight.com.
In 28 Days Later, a virus that causes extreme rage in whatever it infects is accidentally released from a British research facility. Twenty-eight days later, a bike courier awakes from a coma in the deserted intensive care unit of a London hospital to discover Britain has suffered a rage-disease epidemic. His only chance of survival lies in the hands of a group of soldiers who claim to have a solution.
28 Days Later reteams the director/producer duo of Boyle and Andrew Macdonald, who previously collaborated on Trainspotting, Shallow Grave and A Life Less Ordinary. The film’s original screenplay was written by The Beach author Garland. It stars Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns and Brendan Gleeson.
Released in Britain in fall 2002, 28 Days Later was named Best British Film by the UK’s Empire Awards. In fact, many Brits have already gotten to see the darker ending, which appears as a featurette on the already released British DVD.
Since its June 27 U.S. release, the film has raked in more than $33 million at the box office and has become Fox Searchlight’s second most successful domestic release after the 1997 comedy The Full Monty.
“Fox Searchlight has leapt into territory no studio has ventured into because the fans wanted it,” marketing president Nancy Utley said. “The amount of Internet traffic we received about this ending was amazing and too great an opportunity to pass up.”