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The 'head in a box' ending continued to worry the studio after filming was completed.After the first cut of the film was shown to the studio, they attempted to mitigate the bleakness of the ending by replacing Mills' wife's head with that of a dog, or by not having Mills fire on John Doe.Daily photographs of the victim, taken over a year, show the crimes were planned far in advance.
Principal photography took place in Los Angeles, with the last scene filmed near Lancaster, California. Released on September 22, 1995, by New Line Cinema, Seven was the seventh-highest-grossing film of the year, grossing over $327 million worldwide.
Soon-to-retire detective William Somerset is partnered with short-tempered but idealistic David Mills, who has recently moved to the city with his wife Tracy.
Despite Somerset's warnings, Mills fatally shoots Doe, completing Doe's plan by representing wrath.
Police converge and take the devastated Mills away.
Tracy confides to Somerset that she is pregnant and has yet to tell Mills, as she is unhappy with the city and feels it is no place to raise a child.
Somerset sympathizes, having had a similar situation with his ex-girlfriend many years earlier, and advises her to tell Mills only if she plans to keep the child.
However, both Fincher and Pitt continued to fight for the original ending.
The final scenes of Mills being taken away and Somerset's quote from Ernest Hemingway were filmed by Fincher after initial filming was complete as a way to placate the studio (the original intention was for the film to suddenly end after Mills shot John Doe).
He found it more a "meditation on evil" rather than a "police procedural".
Actor Pitt joined Fincher in arguing for keeping this original scene, noting that his previous film Legends of the Fall had its emotional ending cut after negative feedback from test audiences, and refusing to do Seven unless the head-in-the-box scene remained.