The Weinstein Company Reportedly Wants Director Bong Joon-ho to Cut 20 Minutes from SNOWPIERCER for U.S. Distribution

by     Posted 1 year, 104 days ago

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I’ve been really looking forward to Bong Joon-ho‘s post-apocalyptic thriller, Snowpiercer, but I guess I’ll have to wait to see his original cut.  Even though the movie is a hit in Bong’s native South Korea, The Weinstein Company is handling distribution in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.  According to if.com.au, “Weinstein is demanding Bong slash the 126-minute running time by 20 minutes for the version to be released in TWC’s territories,” to which Bong responded that the cuts “would eliminate much of the character detail, which would make the film seem more like an action movie. Weinstein is also adding opening and closing voice-overs.”

Hit the jump for more.  The film stars Chris Evans, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremner, Octavia Spencer, Ko Asung, and Kang-ho SongSnowpiercer currently doesn’t have a U.S. release date.

So why the changes? “TWC people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film ‘will be understood by audiences in Iowa … and Oklahoma,’” English writer and film festival programmer Tony Rayns tells IF.  I also wouldn’t be surprised if Weinstein wants to diminish the roles of South Korean actors Kang-ho Song and Ko Asung because they ain’t good hard-werkin’ ‘Mericans like dem Okies.  As for Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, I’m not sure why they have to suffer the same indignity.

Harvey Weinstein is notorious for cutting up his movies, and it’s a shame that he thinks so little of American audiences.  Then again, I’m sure they don’t think much of him either (if they think of him at all).

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  • Evan

    This is bullshit.

  • Thedudeabides

    I respect Weinstein for still releasing good independent movies like The Master and Silver Linings but this is goddam ridiculous!

  • filmquack

    Here is the problem, on one level I am almost inclined to agree with him when he says 20 minutes need to be cut to make it palatable to America, this is a country that has propped up not 1 but 2 fricking “Grown Ups” franchise films.

    However, that being said, you need not look further than Blade Runner and Kingdom of Heaven (poor Ridley Scott, he has been screwed so many times) to realize what happens when a studio mandates the cutting (or adding) of key scenes and or voice overs to make the movie more easily understood and move faster. In Blade Runner’s case you take a film who’s tone and atmosphere speaks for itself and instead shove the background down your throat with a jarring voice over and a “happy ending” that destroys the films central message and story. This took one of the greatest films ever made and earned it mediocre reviews and a terrible box office. Then there is Kingdom of Heaven a not as good, but still great, film that had deep and fascinating characters and was more character drama then action epic. Then the studio cut all of said character drama and turned it into a 45 min shorter strait up action epic where the characters were mere shadows of their intended selves and yet again we got a mediocre reviewed film with poor box office numbers.

    Then the second a directors cut was released, both films turned into critically acclaimed classics, and earned all of their money back.

    No matter how simple our country occasionally seems with shit like Grown Ups, there are many examples as seen above that prove that intelligent movies are better left that way.

  • doctor_robot

    well… i guess i’ll be waiting for the director’s cut.

  • vividsoup

    I’m probably in the minority here but I’ve become so tired of movies being over 2 hours long that until proven otherwise I would agree with Weinstein. Almost every movie I’ve seen this past year has been bloated. In a well edited movie you should be very hard pressed to remove any dialogue (and certainly not a whole scene) without destroying the film. Going to a movie now I can use the bathroom, get popcorn, play a video game and come back and not have missed anything. Of course, I’m not being totally serious but you get my point.

    • Lance

      You make a lot of good points about current movies but we’re talking about a movie that only runs 2 hours, 6 minutes in this case. This isn’t some Peter Jackson 3 hour bloat movie.

      Taking 20 minutes out of this one reduces it to the length of a comedy. And that’s way too short for this kind of movie — at that length I’d probably feel ripped off coming out of the theater.

      • vividsoup

        Hey Lance, thanks for the reply. Agree — this movie probably doesn’t need a full 20 minutes removed but my guess is that taking out 7 to 15 minutes could tighten the whole film and leave the audience wanting more (good thing). But since I haven’t seen it I’m just guessing — it could be that Joon Ho needs the entire 126 minutes to tell his story effectively. I’ve enjoyed his other films and the idea of this one sounded interesting but the trailer kind of turned me off so that could be influencing my thought that it’s going to feel long. Overall it’s tough — you want to give an artist the freedom to create their vision but a lot of times artists aren’t the best editors of their own work and are unable to see what can be removed.

      • vividsoup

        Hey Lance, thanks for the reply. Agree — this movie probably doesn’t need a full 20 minutes removed but my guess is that taking out 7 to 15 minutes could tighten the whole film and leave the audience wanting more (good thing). But since I haven’t seen it I’m just guessing — it could be that Joon Ho needs the entire 126 minutes to tell his story effectively. I’ve enjoyed his other films and the idea of this one sounded interesting but the trailer kind of turned me off so that could be influencing my thought that it’s going to feel long. Overall it’s tough — you want to give an artist the freedom to create their vision but a lot of times artists aren’t the best editors of their own work and are unable to see what can be removed.

  • Matt

    What I don’t understand is if there’s a financial reason studios make these cuts. Can someone fill me in? Because if a films marketing campaign gets people into their seats then what does it matter how long the film is? Are people really going to walk out? Not very likely.

    So I’ve never really understood studios exercising this control. Unless the director is a idiot but I tend to think thats rarer.

    • kps

      Word of mouth I guess. He doesn’t want people from Oklahoma telling their friends the movie was boring.

    • Lex Walker

      20 minutes less of a movie means maybe they get 7 screenings a day instead of just 6. That’s really the only benefit.

  • btones

    As someone from Oklahoma, that’s one of the most inane excuses for an edit I’ve ever read.

  • Insulted viewer

    Weinstein’s explanation is pretty insulting. I am from Iowa and I have enjoyed all of Bong Joon-Ho’s films mostly because they are UNLIKE American movies. The time he takes to develop his characters is what takes his movies to a level that most action films never achieve. Look at this summer’s action films. Do you recall any of the character’s names? I sure don’t. Weinstein needs to visit Iowa and Oklahoma and get to know the target audience he thinks he knows so well.

  • nom79

    I can understand cutting out certain parts that are meaningless and won’t lose any integrity in the film but 20 minutes sounds like a big portion that may provide more as far as plot, characters, etc.

    There are a lot of trash Hollywood movies that are way over 2 hours (Iron Man 3 is a great example lol) so give Snowpiercer a chance. But they won’t so there goes that.

  • justkiddingnobutseriously

    Well, now that this is very public, hopefully they will reconsider and see the error of their ways

  • GrimReaper07

    I’ve just lost a lot of respect for the Weinstein company. This is idiotic. You don’t just edit out 20 whole minutes from a Bong Joon-ho movie. He’s one of the best directors working today, show some damn respect.

  • Strong Enough

    just watch the original online. fuck weinstein

  • Sean Connery

    What the! WHY WHY WHY!??

  • isakglasses

    fuck weinstein,he always has some of the best movies in his company but this has to be the most disrespectful thing they could have done for a movie with such promise.well i guess I’ll wait for the DVD

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