LOS ANGELES—A focus group of 150 people who saw this one movie, Fox Searchlight's modern adaptation of some Charles Dickens classic, were unresponsive right up until the violent and sudden decapitation of the lead character, which was widely heralded as "awesome."

"For the first hour and 50 minutes, comments were along the lines of 'boring,' 'too talky,' and 'booooring,'" assistant producer Marla Cannon said Monday.

"But the final scene, in which the guy gives himself up to rebels who behead him on his twin brother's TV station, was described as 'totally sick' and 'kick-ass,' often in all capital letters or with multiple exclamation points."

Producers said they were currently reworking the film to include a bunch more beheadings.