Fans demanded it – frequently and vocally – and now it’s happening. The long-awaited “Snyder Cut” of Justice League will finally see the light of day on HBO Max. I know – I can’t believe it either. But here we are! We’ll probably never know the whole story about what happened behind-the-scenes – and anyone who tells you they know it is probably lying.
But it boils down to this: a lot of the footage original Justice League director Zack Snyder shot for the superhero film ended up on the cutting room floor, and Joss Whedon shot additional footage instead. Fans have long-maintained that even though they haven’t actually seen it, the Snyder Cut would be the superior movie. And now they’re going to be able to find out if that’s actually true.
The news arrived today during an online Man of Steel watch party, where Snyder said the following:
“I want to thank HBO Max and Warner Brothers for this brave gesture of supporting artists and allowing their true visions to be realized. Also a special thank you to all of those involved in the SnyderCut movement for making this a reality.”
Interestingly, we’ve heard rumblings that the Snyder Cut will not be released as a feature film, but as a series of 30-minute episodes. So, Justice League: The Miniseries, if you will. Considering the film’s reported running time of upwards of three hours, the choice makes sense. Other details are unknown, but The Hollywood Reporter says that much of the original crew will return to finish the project, which could cost up to $30 million.
In a press release, Warner Media Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer chairman Robert Greenblatt stated:
“Since I got here 14 months ago, the chant to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut has been a daily drumbeat in our offices and inboxes. Well, the fans have asked, and we are thrilled to finally deliver. At the end of the day, it really is all about them and we are beyond excited to be able to release Zack’s ultimate vision for this film in 2021. This could never have happened if it weren’t for the hard work and combined efforts of the teams at HBO Max and Warner Bros. Pictures.”
No release date was announced, but the Snyder Cut of Justice League will stream exclusively on HBO Max in 2021.
In 2017, Justice League hit theaters – and the reaction was not great, to say the least. Critics panned the movie, and while it technically wasn’t a flop, it also wasn’t the box office smash that Warner Bros. had been hoping for. Before the movie even opened, though, there were concerns. Justice League had a turbulent production – something that was only made extra rocky in the wack of the underperformance of the dark, brooding Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice when compared to the success of the much more thematically positive Wonder Woman. Execs wanted changes – in other words, they wanted Justice League to be more Wonder Woman and less Dawn of Justice.
Zack Snyder had finished principal photography in either October or December of 2016 (sources vary), and a rough cut of Snyder’s work was put together for studio executives soon after. This cut apparently didn’t go over so well, and Warners still wanted changes. But in 2017, Snyder had to step down from post-production duties in the wake of the death of his daughter.
After Snyder’s departure, Avengers filmmaker Joss Whedon was brought in to handle reshoots. Whedon did not get a directorial credit, which strongly indicates that a large chunk of what was released to theaters was indeed Snyder’s film, and not Whedon’s. Producer Charles Roven commented that the theatrical cut contained “80, 85 percent” of what Snyder originally shot, while the rest belonged to Whedon. However, this new cut of the film also excised several plotlines from Snyder’s cut – which was rumored to run three-and-a-half hours, compared to the 120-minute theatrical cut.
It’s worth noting that up until now, the Snyder Cut wasn’t exactly a finished film. As I said above, it was a rough cut that still didn’t have effects work in place. Finishing the movie would cost more money – which Warners presumably shelled-out to bring the movie to HBO Max.
So will the long-awaited Snyder Cut fix things? I honestly don’t know. The theatrical cut of Justice League had a few moments I enjoyed – I actually thought that the film’s portrayal of Superman was strong, despite his weird CGI face. But I’m not sure making the movie even longer would make matters better. Still, while I’m not exactly the world’s biggest Snyder fan, I do think it’s fair that he’s being allowed a chance to present his own vision of this story. And who knows – maybe the end result will surprise us all.
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