BAZ Luhrmann has bowed to studio pressure and dropped the sad ending to his epic film Australia.
Luhrmann's initial cut - which ran for more than three hours - ended with Hugh Jackman's character, The Drover, dying in the final scenes.
After disastrous reviews from test screenings, Twentieth Century Fox executives decided the film's final moments should be more uplifting.
One test-screening audience member described the film as "an action-filled tragedy" and urged Luhrmann to change the ending.
"If they can tastefully tie this movie up into a solid story, with a nice pace, Baz will have a winner here," one reviewer wrote. "And there is no reason to kill off Wolvie (Jackman) in this one - come on."
Those who have seen the film say the performances are terrific but it is Jackman who steals the show.
After intense discussions with studio executives, Luhrmann was persuaded last week to go for a more uplifting ending.
It has not been an easy shoot. The film crew has had to deal with the huge international interest generated by the big-name stars, unpredictable weather in Western Australia and horses being quarantined because of equine flu.
Australia had been due in cinemas early this month, but its release was pushed back to November 26 because of fears it would not be ready in time.
Luhrmann told The Sunday Telegraph he would not compromise the quality of the film.
"I wouldn't say we are within schedule but it's possibly within reach," he said.