So the next morning, their agent said that Toby Emmerich, president of Warner Bros. Pictures recognized the movement and, more importantly, was ready to join. ” It’s real. People want it. Would you consider doing something? Was what Emmerich was asking, recalls Zack Snyder.
The answer to Emmerich’s question, a whispered secret for months, was revealed on Wednesday when Zack Snyder confirmed, at the end of an online screening of his 2013 film, Steel man, that his version of Justice League was indeed real. And it will arrive at HBO Max, the WarnerMedia digital streaming service which will launch on May 27 and is expected to debut in 2021.
We do not currently know in what form Snyder Justice League will take. It remains to be seen whether it will be released as a director’s nearly four-hour cut or divided into six “chapters,” but the Snyders are now gathering a large chunk of their post-production team. original to mark, cut, add new and finish the old visual effects and, yes, maybe bring back many actors to record additional dialogue.
The cost of the effort is also not clear. One source has determined that the effort is in the $ 20 million range, although another source says the figure could be closer to $ 30 million. The parties concerned did not comment.
“It will be an entirely new thing and, especially when speaking to those who have seen the film released, a new experience outside of this film,” says Zack Snyder. The Hollywood Reporter, noting that to date, he has not watched the theatrical release.
“You’ve probably seen a quarter of what I’ve done,” notes the director, basing his judgment on what was shared with him from the Whedon version.
Before Emmerich came to call, adds Snyder, “I always thought it was something that in 20 years someone might be making a documentary and I could lend them the footage, little excerpts from ‘a cup that no one has ever seen. “
But, adds Deborah Snyder, “With the new platform and the streaming services, you can have something like that. You can’t release something like this indoors, but you could with a streaming service. It’s an opportunity that wasn’t there two years ago, to be honest. “
It’s a very unlikely development, and the last turning point for a film that, like the steel man himself, saw death and rebirth.
Snyder was in a unique position when he shot Justice League in 2016. Warner Bros. had entrusted his DC character universe to a filmmaker – him – and he had built up for a big team on screen, but not without some bumps in the road. He started with Steel man, which brought in $ 668 million worldwide, and then Batman v Superman: the dawn of justice, the 2016 blockbuster that polarized fans with its grim vision of iconic heroes and grossed $ 873 million worldwide.
In January 2017, he had what he considered to be his optimal version of Justice League, almost four hours, even though he knew it was something the studio wouldn’t publish. Warners wanted a two-hour reduction, and delivered an approximate version with an operating time of approximately two hours and 20 minutes. It was the first cut the studio saw. The two sides agreed that there was still a lot of work to do before the November release, but the tragedy struck the Snyders when their daughter, Autumn, died by suicide. A month and a half later, Zack officially walked away and Whedon was brought in.
League opened on November 17 for weak reviews and a slow box office, which ultimately grossed $ 658 million worldwide. However, almost immediately a movement was born. Unhappy fans of the film created the now infamous hashtag. A Change.org petition for Warners to publish the version of Snyder had already collected more than 100,000 signatures less than five days after the film’s release.
Forget that the version that fans technically wanted didn’t exist. What existed was a semi-finished work, without visual effects, without post-production. One person who had seen this version described it as a car without panels, just a transmission and seats. And he was sitting on a hard drive in the Snyders house. “When we left the film, I had just made the decision to cut it,” says Zack Snyder. “Honestly, I never thought it would be anything. “
In the year after the death of their daughter, the Snyders closed circles around their family as they attempted to recover from the tragedy. “The first year was spent on milestones and vacations,” recalls Deborah Snyder. “Now it is not these moments but others, like songs that trigger memories, that struck me unexpectedly. “
Zack adds, “As a family, as a couple, I think we grew up in a way that made us stronger. We are doing our best. You really can’t hope for more. “
The duo also got involved in suicide prevention charities and planned a return to the movies with Army of the dead. Meanwhile, #ReleasetheSnyderCut has become more organized and visible, attracting the attention of mainstream media. Zack Snyder fueled the movement by teasing from time to time images of his film or his storyboards on social networks, in a way by fanning hot embers. And he saw some of the seeds he had planted in his movies, especially in his Gadot castings like Wonder Woman and Momoa like Aquaman, become gardens as the fallout became pop culture phenomena and hits to a billion dollars.
But it was on this two-year anniversary that the zenith struck and the hashtag became a major global trend. “#ReleasetheSnyderCut is the most tweeted hashtag in a movie WB has ever made, but it’s a movie they never released,” says Snyder. “It’s a weird statistic but it’s cool. “
After the phone call on Saturday morning, the Snyders began to move the pieces of the puzzle. “We had to figure out what it meant to finish it, and how to get it out?” Remembers Deborah.
The Snyders hosted a presentation and in early February invited a select group of executives from Warner Bros., HBO Max and DC to their home in Pasadena to screen the unseen version of Zack which was shown in black and white. The number of frames in the room – there were over a dozen attendees, ranging from Warner Emmerich, Carolyn Blackwood and Walter Hamada to Kevin Reilly of HBO Max, Sarah Aubrey and Sandra Dewey to Jim Lee of DC – importance of the potentially important business. The heads of physical production and commercial affairs were there to assess what had to be done and how much it would cost. In his post-screening presentation, Snyder presented ideas for not only publishing the cut but the concept of episodes and cliffhangers.
The leaders left the meeting pumped up. The Snyder Cup was real. Except that it was almost not the case.
The new coronavirus struck and Hollywood almost shut down in mid-March. Said Deborah, “People thought,” It won’t be possible to ramp up, and maybe that should stay on the back burner. But we said, “No, it’s a good time” because our visual effects houses that rely on so much are running out of work, so now East time to do it. “It also helped that many of these post facilities retained the original assets.
Snyder also spent the months of April and May reaching out to a fairly large cast, giving an overview of the new development and letting them know that their services might be needed. (The first person called: Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg. “It was like, ‘Are you kidding, right?'”, Zack remembers.)
There is no timetable at this stage for the project as discussions are now starting with the post-production houses, which also gives HBO Max plenty of time to find the best way to present this version of Justice League. Snyder is at the same time stationed on Army of the dead, his zombie thriller for Netflix which will also debut in 2021.
For the Snyders, the opportunity to revisit the film also opens up the prospect of closing a project they have been forced to abandon. “This film was the culmination of a hero’s journey that all of these characters pursued,” said Deborah Snyder. “And the idea was always to make them become the heroes that people expected of them. “
And while the cup contains the many elements that Zack has teased over time (yes, expect Darkseid), the duo also likes to add a fair amount of character development. “What is so beautiful is that we get to explore these characters in a way that you cannot in a shorter theatrical version. “
Snyders know that the power of the fans is what made the Snyder Cut come true. “Obviously, that wouldn’t happen without them,” says Zack. He also credits Warners with his reputation as a former director’s studio.
Adds Zack, “This return to this pedigree and allowing my singular vision of my film to come true, in this format, in this length, is unprecedented and a courageous gesture. “