Over the past few months, director Zack Snyder has been hard at work re-editing his 2017 critical and commercial failure, Justice League, and turning it into a massive four-hour director's cut miniseries that will include a heavy dose of previously unseen footage, as well as the brand new footage he shot last month.
The redo cost approximately $70 million, with eight days of reshoots in total, and was reportedly exclusively made to debut HBO Max, but it looks like Snyder also has his sights set on a simultaneous theatrical release.
While it doesn't sound like a decision has been made yet, Snyder confidently tells Entertainment Weekly, "I'm a huge fan and a big supporter of the cinematic experience, and we're already talking about Justice League playing theatrically at the same time it's coming to HBO Max. So weirdly, it's the reverse [of the trend]."
The trend he's referring to is, of course, WarnerMedia's recent decision to sacrifice their entire 2021 theatrical slate and debut over fifteen films day-and-date in theaters and on HBO Max, a move that was widely seen as an effort to significantly boost the subscriber numbers for their struggling streaming service.
As for how he felt about the controversial decision, he more or less toed the company line, expressing his hope that this move won't become a permanent fixture for future films and is just a temporary response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"It felt like a pretty bold move and that maybe the implication wasn't 100 percent thought out. I feel like there's a lot of people panicking during COVID. I hope that, in the end, that's what this was — some sort of knee-jerk to COVID and not some sort of greater move to disrupt the theatrical experience. I thought we were kind of already getting very close to the ideal theatrical window where you still had marketing material out there and you hadn't forgotten about the film by the time it came out on DVD or streaming. I thought we were starting to hone in on that sweet spot, but this kind of throws a monkey wrench in the works."
Considering Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is also currently being remastered for a theatrical IMAX release next year, it seems likely Snyder will get his wish to debut Zack Snyder's Justice League in theaters as well next year as a four-hour director's cut, simultaneously with the release of the four-hour supersized cut on HBO Max, which would presumably happen after the miniseries finishes airing. However, it remains to be seen where it will actually be able to play safely, as many theaters may remain closed or could be on the verge of shutting down again as the coronavirus pandemic worsens across the United States.
Snyder also excitedly tells the trade that he fully expects his new four-hour cut to receive an R-rating.
"Here's one piece of information nobody knows: The movie is insane and so epic and is probably rated R — that's one thing I think will happen, that it will be an R-rated version, for sure. We haven't heard from the MPAA, but that's my gut."
When asked to elaborate, he teases, "There's one scene where Batman drops an F-bomb. Cyborg is not too happy with what's going on with his life before he meets the Justice League, and he tends to speak his mind. And Steppenwolf is pretty much just hacking people in half. So [the rating would be due to] violence and profanity, probably both."
Well, we suppose that's something to look forward to, and it sounds like many of these more adult-oriented scenes may have been added during the eight-day reshoots, which primarily involved stars Ben Affleck and Ray Fisher. It was previously reported that Amber Heard, Jared Leto, and Joe Manganiello also shot new material.