Thursday, 21 May 2020
The Justice League Snyder Cut is coming
After what has felt like a lifetime of lobbying and speculating, fans of the DCEU have finally received their first official confirmation of the impending release of the original cut of the 2017 superhero movie, Justice League. Popularly referred to as the Snyder Cut, this much-sought-after version of the movie is set to debut exclusively on HBO Max in 2021, the new streaming service by HBO which is itself set to debut next week.
The announcement was made by Zack Snyder himself, during a watch party for his 2013 movie, Man of Steel. This would not be the first time that the director would be releasing an additional cut of one of his films, as both Watchmen and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (BvS) had received extended cuts that fleshed out their stories. But this one stands out for the fact that unlike those movies, it would be representing his original vision for the movie.
A little history lesson is in order at this point then, to put that previous statement into perspective. Back when Warner Bros. had decided to put together its own superhero cinematic universe, Zack Snyder had been given the reins to that endeavor. But unlike Marvel Studios whose movies were considered fun, campy and a general delight to watch, the first two movies in the DCEU were accused by both fans and critics of being too dark and introspective.
This complaint was reflected in the box office performance of BvS, which despite opening to $166 million worldwide during its opening weekend, had only managed to gross $873 million total during its global theatrical run. So in a bid to avoid a similar fate for its sequel, Justice League, Warner Bros. had decided to lighten the tone of the movie, even though the film was already in production at the time.
This would result in rewrites and extensive reshoots, all of which contributed to the movie's troubled production. Zack Snyder was forced to step down from his position as director during post-production, following a family tragedy, and Joss Whedon, director of both Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, was brought in to finish the movie.
The theatrical version of Justice League was released in November of 2017, and it was met with a lukewarm reception, grossing only $657 million against a $300 million production budget. While I did enjoy the movie and appreciated its lighter tone, a subset of fans believed that this contributed to the release's uneven tone. And thus began their campaign to have the original Zack Snyder version of the movie released.
In the 3 or so years since its release, fans have employed various tactics to bring attention to the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement. This has included renting out signboards at Time Square during New York Comic-Con, as well as having a plane fly over San Diego Comic-Con with the Twitter hashtag. Well, their voices have finally been heard, but work on that particular cut of the movie isn't done yet apparently.
Current reports state that Warner Bros. would still need to spend between $20 to $30 million to complete the movie, as well as bring in some of the original cast to record additional lines of dialogue. But considering how much fans have proven they would like to see it, it is an expense the studio is hoping would pay off in the long run for its new streaming service. Here's hoping that the actual film lives up to expectations.