A 23 minute alternate ending, faithful to the original, stage ending, was originally shot. In it, Audrey and Seymour are eaten by Audrey II, and, after it becomes a worldwide sensation, the world is taken over by various Audrey IIs (à la a classic B-movie horror flick.) It featured miniature effects by Richard Conway, who worked nearly a year and spent about $5 million on the sequence of Audrey II's takeover, and two songs; a reprise of "Somewhere That's Green," in which Audrey, after being attacked by Audrey II, tells Seymour to feed her to the plant after she dies so she can always be with him, and "Don't Feed The Plants," in which an off-screen chorus warns the audience not to feed the plants, no matter what they offer you. Paul Dooley appears as Patrick Martin in this version. After two failed test screenings in San Jose and Los Angeles, in which the audiences rejected the ending, the theatrical, "happy" ending was shot, in which both Audrey and Seymour survive, and Audrey II is destroyed.
In 1998, Warner Bros. released a special edition DVD of the film, with the original ending as an extra. A black and white dupe made after the LA preview, it was still in rough form, with some music and sound effects missing, and various special effects unfinished. Days after the release, producer David Geffin had the DVDs recalled and replaced with a version without the original ending. As a result, the recalled DVD has become a much sought-after collector's item. The original ending, as seen on the DVD, has also been uploaded to various torrent and video sharing sites.
In 2012, after locating and restoring the original color negatives, Warner Bros. released "The Director's Cut" of the film on Blu-Ray and DVD. It features a new cut of the original ending in color, and with newly created sound effects, finished special effects, and refined music. Though close to the original edit, a few of Seymour's lines of dialog had been cut.
The original colorized copy of the film's original ending was thought to be lost in a studio fire. However, as David Geffen didn't find out after the original DVD version was recalled, no such copy had ever existed. The ending remained lost, until director Frank Oz held a Q&A session during a Jim Henson-themed exhibit at the Museum of The Moving Image in Queens, NY that Warner Bros was in fact would release a restored edition of the film with the original ending for a future Blu-Ray and DVD release. Warner used re-discovered color negatives and production notes from Oz and the film's creative team to complete a Director's Cut with the original ending restored. The Blu-Ray and DVD were released on October 9th, 2012, and screened as part of a "Masterworks" screening (with "Richard III" and "Heaven's Gate") at the 50th New York Film Festival. Originally subtitled, "The intended Cut", the name was changed to "The Director's Cut", when Oz began to support the release.
Around late December of 2012 or early January 2013, Deleted and alternate scenes popped up on the Internet. They claim to be from from "the only work print ever shown to preview audiences." These scenes include: -A slightly different prologue with no titles and a different narrator. (This narrator is the one used on the film's official soundtrack) -A deleted line from Audrey: "You don't meet nice boys when you live on Skid Row, Mr. Mushnik" -There are various alternate shots of people singing in "Skid Row (Downtown)" -There is an alternate shot of the 3 girls singing before "Grow for Me" -A shot of Wink Wilkerson during his shooting sound effects, he says "What a rotten shot" -An alternate orchestration and a few different "feeding" shots of "Some Fun Now" (Like the Prologue, this version, as opposed to the one in the movie is on the actual soundtrack of the film) -In the dentist's office before he dies, there's a shot of Orin laughing and yelling "Oh God!" over and over. (Also far in the background it almost sounds like someone's saying "Cut!") -Seymour feeding Orin to Audrey II is significantly longer, more violent, and has a different orchestration. There are more shots of Seymour chopping him up as well as a shot of Seymour feeding Orin's other leg and head to Audrey II. -"The Meek Shall Inherit" is in it's entirety. The Limo driver says "...and you're a meek little guy" in a deep voice, it's unclear as to whether or not he may be Levi Stubbs. The song is, once again, the same as on the official soundtrack. -There's an alternate scene with Seymour and Audrey where he talks about the plant and if she would still like him if he wasn't famous. It's pretty close to the stage version, except a gag near the end where they break out into "Suddenly Seymour" and then it abruptly stops. It was reused in the Theatrical Ending. -The original ending sequence where Audrey II takes over and rampages through New York in a B-Movie fashion is in color. It differs only slightly from the Blu-Ray "Directors Cut", mainly the end, it just cuts to black and says "THE END?!?"(An abbreviated cut of this version of "Don't Feed The Plants" is on the film's soundtrack)
Initial screenings included many deviations from the version of the film that went into general release: -The film opens with a different narrator (the same man heard on the soundtrack album.) -After Mr. Mushnik says, "I'm beginning to think maybe he's not such a nice boy," Audrey replies, "You don't meet nice boys when you live on Skid Row, Mr. Mushnik." (This line made it into some of the original trailers.) -"Skid Row" opens with a different singer (Bertice Reading's vocals were later re-dubbed by co-star Michelle Weeks). -After Audrey's verse in the song "Skid Row," shots of the local residents are edited in a different order, including a few alternate shots. -As Seymour heads to the basement at the beginning of "Grow for Me," Crystal, Chiffon and Ronette pass by the storefront window singing, the camera follows them along the sidewalk and pans down to the basement window, where Seymour looks out. -When Weird Wink Wilkinson makes machine gun noises, it cuts to shots of people in the radio studio laughing, and Wink then declares, "What a rotten shot!" -"Some Fun Now" includes an extra verse, an alternate instrumental solo (both are heard on the soundtrack album), as well as additional shots of Seymour squeezing blood out of his finger and into Audrey II's eager jaws. -There is an extended scene of Orin laughing at the photo of the dog's mouth. -The dismemberment of Orin is substantially longer and features a completely different musical orchestration. -The camera circles over Seymour's head as he lies in bed trying to sleep. In the widely released version, Seymour sits beside the bed, unable to sleep. -"The Meek Shall Inherit" includes a lengthy, surreal dream sequence and all of Seymour's dialogue (heard on the soundtrack album) is intact. -In an alternate scene, Audrey asks Seymour when Mr. Mushnik will be back from visiting his sister in Czechoslovakia, Seymour proposes to her, says they'll move to Alaska to be away from plants, and the lovers sing a brief reprise of "Suddenly Seymour." -The reprise of "Somewhere That's Green" and Audrey's death are intact. -"Don't Feed the Plants" is severely truncated, running approximately 3 minutes in total.