While the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is finally upon us, there are still even more secrets about the film yet to be unveiled. Warner Bros. announced a few weeks ago that an extended, R-rated cut of the film will be getting the Blu-ray treatment later this year, with director Zack Snyder going so far as to refer to that version of the film as his “director’s cut.” This isn’t simply a case of a studio double-dipping—the extended cut of the film runs half an hour longer than the 2 hours and 32 minutes of the theatrical cut and even includes new characters, like the mystery role filled by Jena Malone.
When Steve sat down with Snyder at the recent press day for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, he asked the filmmaker about what’s included on this extended cut, which Snyder says they’re now referring to as the “Ultimate Cut”:
“We call it the Ultimate Cut because to me it’s a deeper dive into that world and there are storylines in there that get fleshed out by the longer version… I would say that we didn’t really take out much of the Superman/Batman story because I felt like, you know that’s kind of the movie, but there was some sort of interstitial stuff that surrounds the story, that kind of finishes some of the ideas that we trimmed back, and I think that’s what you get.”
Snyder also spoke about the greater level of violence in the film, which earned the Ultimate Cut an R-rating from the MPAA, as well as an alternate version of the ending:
“There’s a little bit of action, there’s a little bit of violence that we trimmed out for the MPAA that we put back. The Batman warehouse rescue, there’s a couple shots of Doomsday that were too intense. Then there’s a little bit longer ending, sort of the ending sequence, and the opening of the movie, the North Africa sequence is really much different.”
Why did this footage come out in the first place? Snyder says the film started to feel too long:
“It was in there until very recently, so all of it’s finished. It was really just a function of time, to be honest. Because the movie’s long now, long-ish—I don’t think it’s long, but when you get over two and a half hours the studio starts getting nervous. I’m not JamesCameron who’s like ‘No it’s three hours, suck it!’, which is cool by the way. I just wanted to try and get it to a length that is work-able.”
Perhaps this extended cut helps clarify a few of the film’s more muddled plot points, and as Snyder went on to talk about the “TV version” of his 2009 film Watchmen versus the director’s cut, he hit upon the notion of the studio really pushing for a shorter version of that movie:
“If you watch Watchmen on TNT or whatever, the TV cut, it’s the movie, it’s in there, if you watch it you’re like, ‘Oh okay, I get it,’ but all the edges get knocked off of it by the nature of putting something that’s kind of that rough on TV. In a weird way, the theatrical cut is a step up from that, and then the director’s cut [of Watchmen] is really where it’s at, in my opinion. With a movie like that where I was in a, I don’t wanna say I was in a battle with the studio but I was probably more headstrong on that movie because the material was so important to me. And then they promised me that they would make this director’s cut and that was where the deal was made, I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll get you [the time you want].’ And also a lot of the time of that movie was dictated by IMAX because it was an IMAX release and there was no digital IMAX, it was all prints. That movie, if there’s humidity in the projection booth the film will fall off.”
So does Snyder prefer the “Ultimate Cut” of Batman v Superman over the theatrical, and is this a situation similar to Watchmen where Warner Bros. agreed to put the R-rated cut on Blu-ray if Snyder shortened the theatrical? That’s unclear at this point, and honestly the studio was probably thrilled to have a longer version to put on the Blu-ray regardless because that ups the value of getting the film on home video. Snyder seems to be happy with the version of Batman v Superman that’s in theaters, but it is interesting that Warner Bros. announced the extended R-rated version of BvS so soon before the theatrical cut hit.
For more from Steve’s interviews with Snyder and the rest of the Batman v Superman cast and crew, click the links below.
- These Two Batman Villains Came Close to Being in ‘Batman v Superman’
- Producer Charles Roven Reaffirms Commitment to Keeping ‘Suicide Squad’, DC Movies PG-13
- Zack Snyder Gives His Thoughts on ‘Watchmen’ Director’s Cut vs. Ultimate Cut
- ‘300’ Sequels Could Go Beyond Greece, Says Zack Snyder
- Zack Snyder Teases ‘Justice League’s Official Title and Production Schedule