In 2017, director Zack Snyder left Justice League mid-production due to an unthinkable family tragedy so Warner Brothers hired Joss Whedon to step in and help finish the project.
When the movie hit theatres, it was clear Justice League had been made by two very different directors.
Whedon’s lighter tone clashed with Snyder’s darker interpretation, leaving fans angry and Warner Bros. roughly $75m out of pocket.
But it seems Warners don’t hold grudges because they’re releasing Zac Snyder’s original, four-hour vision on HBO Max in 2021. The distribution company must be feeling generous because they’re bankrolling the project, reportedly costing between $20- $30m.
In a recent interview, Snyder said his take on Justice League “will be an entirely new thing, and, especially talking to those who have seen the released movie, a new experience apart from that movie.”
Ever since the film’s theatrical release, whispers of a secret Synder cut have loomed in the deep, dark depths of the Hollywood graveyard but even the director lost hope.
“I always thought it was a thing that in 20 years, maybe somebody would do a documentary and I could lend them the footage, little snippets of a cut no one has ever seen.”
Fans around the world formed the movie’s collective heartbeat, urging Warner Bros to #releasethesyndercut through hashtags, petitions and even a billboard in Times Square.
Fans finally got their wish and even Snyder acknowledged their efforts insisting, “clearly this wouldn’t be happening without them.”
Interestingly this isn’t the first superhero movie Warner Brothers have re-released after fan backlash.
In 2016 fans criticised Synder’s, Batman V Superman for its lack of context and gaping plot holes. It quickly came to fruition that the theatrical version was cut down under orders of the studio. Fans rallied together, demanding the extended cut and they were eventually gifted an extra 32-minutes of action in the ‘ultimate edition.’
Warner Brothers also re-released Superman 2 a whopping 26 years after its theatrical release.
In 1977 the film’s director, Richard Donner was unceremoniously fired after completing roughly 70% of the film. Richard Lester replaced him, reshooting several key elements and ultimately changing the entire movie.
Fans quickly became aware of Donner’s version and demanded to see it. Warners initially refused but the film’s mythology grew, and they finally gave in, working with Donner to make his dream a reality.
Ironically Warners faced the same fate again with Justice League.
Perhaps giving Zack Snyder complete creative control will pay dividends for Warner Brothers or maybe it’ll just cost them another $30m- only time will tell.