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Clue (1985) famously had three, true (intentional) alternate endings that were included on the VHS and aired in theaters. It’s not uncommon for alternate endings to appear online after a film is out of theaters (Fatal Attraction, Terminator 2, and others), especially as they're often deleted scenes or scrapped concepts. But Clue used their alternate endings as a marketing tactic while in theaters - you didn’t know which one you’d get when buying a ticket (until they eventually showed them all).

While "director's cuts" occasionally make it to theaters, the recent, on-demand launch of Netflix's Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend has me wondering: did any other films air multiple, true alternate endings in theaters upon release?

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    Would "I am Legend" count or how about 1408? – Thomas Jun 24 at 6:32
  • " aired in theaters" - I think you mean "shown in theaters". Live streaming of movies to cinemas wasn't possible until very recently with digital projectors. – Dai Jun 24 at 7:50
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    @Dai "aired in theatres" is a very old term that goes back to the days of "radio theatres" when you would go to the theatre to watch the airing of a radio play. A lot of these radio theatres evolved into the early cinema's and the phrase stuck. – Marcus Adams Jun 24 at 9:23
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    Would you count the Star Tours ride film at Disney World? It's not a traditional theater, but it is a theater, just with a much smaller number of seats and mounted on a motion base. And it does have different endings (and middle scenes), so you have to go multiple times to see all of them. And that is part of the marketing appeal for that ride. – Darrel Hoffman Jun 24 at 13:13
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    @MarcusAdams that's strange, because cinemas predate radio plays. – OrangeDog Jun 24 at 13:56
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There is an Indian movie in Malayalam called Harikrishnans with

a love triangle, which ends with the lead female actor ending up with one of the two lead male actors.

There were two endings released in theaters, with the endings supposedly chosen based on the "popularity" of the actor in that region.

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Run Lola Run (1998) had three endings, but they were released as part of one movie (unlike Clue which sounds like they released multiple versions of the movie at the same time).

In it, Lola must collect a large sum of money in twenty minutes to protect her boyfriend from a gang he owes money to. The story plays out once. When it ends, it restarts but something slightly different happens that completely changes the outcome of the story.

Similarly, Sliding Doors (1998.... popular year for this) also had two different endings. In it, the main protagonist is trying to catch a train. In one storyline, she catches the train and the events of the movie play out. In the other, she misses the train and the events take a different path. This also was played at the same time in theaters.

Wayne's World (1992) also had multiple endings which where the "mega-sad ending", the "Scooby Doo ending", and the "mega-happy ending".

Wayne's World 2 (1993) sort of this this as well. It has a mega-sad ending which Wayne and Garth disapprove of and decide to re-do it.

Unfriended: The Dark Web (2018) reportedly did have two alternate endings that were played randomly in theaters. It's release was widely compared to Clue because of this.

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    Not sure about "Run Lola Run" since the story endings are not the end of the movie; so every audience saw the same movie ending. – Luciano Jun 24 at 12:10
  • @Luciano I wasn't sure if it did or not. The question only specified movies with multiple endings aired in theaters. Run Lola Run is the same story played out in three different ways which technically fits the criteria. – DeeV Jun 24 at 12:26
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    If you see the end of the story in the middle of the movie it's not a movie ending. Also the question specifies: different audiences watching different endings, so I don't believe it qualifies since all 3 stories were shown to everyone that watched the movie. Unless each story was screened separately to different audiences. – Luciano Jun 24 at 13:22
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    According to the first news link about Unfriended: The Dark Web, this was the first movies since Clue to try this stunt. But the Indian movie cited in bobby's answer is a counterexample anyway; and even if we restrict to movies with a US release, it's hard to prove a negative like this. – Michael Seifert Jun 24 at 15:02
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    From my memory of it, "Run Lola Run" definitely feels more like a "Groundhog Day" concept, with things repeating until things works out for the lead, rather than it ending. – DBS Jun 25 at 8:43
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Smoking/No smoking by Alain Resnais (1993) has two versions projected as different movies. (I do remember seeing both the same week.) With different posters. Within each movie (Smoking and no smoking), there are six different endings. All roles are played by the same two actors.

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Would 1998's Sliding Doors count? https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120148/

(Little Spoilers) We see two paths that the character takes depending on whether she caught the train at the start of the film or she didn't. I haven't seen the film for a long time but in one path at the end, I think she either dies or is seriously injured and in the other, she's fallen in love.

Its a kind of Butterfly Effect movie, how something so innocuous and tiny can have such a massive effect on someone. Maybe "Run Lola Run" is also similar film I've heard.

The Butterfly Effect film starring Ashton Kutcher doesn't qualify for the answer as has one ending.

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  • It's Ashton Kutcher :) – AryanSonwatikar Jun 24 at 4:24
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    The OP’s question is about a movie (Clue) where three endings were filmed. But, only one ending was shown when the movie was played. When the movie premiered, different endings were shipped to different theaters. Each audience only saw one ending. The fact that here were multiple endings was not released until after the premiere. This is much different than today’s movies having alternate endings that end up on the cutting room floor (so to speak). Only to be seen in director’s cut DVDs or bonus scenes. – Dean F. Jun 24 at 5:54
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    The Butterfly Effect only has one official ending - but they made a couple of alternate ones, which are included as extras on the DVD. – Steve Melnikoff Jun 24 at 11:25
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    @SteveMelnikoff: That's true of dozens, possibly hundreds of movies. "Scott Pilgrim" and "I Am Legend" come immediately to mind, because the alternate endings for those were better than the "real" endings! – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jun 24 at 17:53
  • Actually, The Butterfly Effect had filmed an alternate ending in which the protagonist returns to the time before he was born and chokes himself with the umbilical cord – Yasskier Jun 24 at 21:07

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