According to The New York Times, here’s what happened.

Bruce Fretts’ brief oral history cites a “disastrous screening” that forced Bob Weinstein to ask for reshoots. “I said to Terry, ‘We’re not trying to ruin your movie, but there’s absolutely no heart in it.’ So we put in a little heart. We didn’t make it vanilla. We weren’t trying to make ‘Not-So-Good Santa.'”

Terry Zwigoff, correctly believing he’d delivered a great film (again, I was in that theater, and it rocked with laughter from beginning to end), refused to participate. Weinstein turned to Todd Phillips, who was a month away from becoming one of the hottest comedy directors in Hollywood with the February 2003 release of “Old School,” for some agreeably rowdy scenes which included Willie raiding a poolside bar, Sarah Silverman delivering mall Santa training, and the kid getting a nut-punching boxing tutorial from Willie and Marcus.

The additions worked fine. I watched the theatrical cut with friends, and they howled at Phillips’ scenes — which came as no surprise to me because I’d also seen a test screening of “Old School” months prior, and knew Phillips was about to explode. But while I dug Phillips, “Bad Santa” was a Terry Zwigoff movie. Willie was a bastard until the final hour when he saw not so much the error of his ways, but the pointlessness of greed. “Do you really need all that s***?”

Did “Bad Santa” really need those reshoots?