Zach Snyder’s Justice League may still be facing an existential crisis.
Bob Greenblatt, Chairman of WarnerMedia and chief of HBO Max, recently told Vox’s Recode Podcast that the film “does not exist.” Or, more precisely, it does not exist in a releasable state and making it ready for its 2021 debut on HBO Max will cost more than the reported $20-$30 million. “I’ll just say I wish it was just $30 million and stop there,” he said, according to The Playlist.
“It isn’t as easy as going into the vault and there’s a Snyder Cut sitting there to put out,” he explained. “Zack is actually building it and it’s complex including … new VFX shots, it’s a radical rethinking of that movie and it’s complicated and wildly expensive.”
Although some fans would like to see the unfinished cut Snyder delivered before exiting the film in Spring of 2017 — green screens, wires, and all — many always understood this version was a work in progress requiring additional time and money to complete. As it happens, the reshoots ultimately directed by Joss Whedon were scheduled before Snyder’s departure and were a response to feedback on that early 2017 cut. Nevertheless, it seems a debate has spring up among the SnyderCut faithful regarding this issue as some still clamor for the unfinished film.
As fans of the so-called “Assembly Cut” of Alien3, we’d be interested to see that incomplete version as well for academic reasons. But we totally understand why WarnerMedia and HBO Max would want a film with completed effects, score, and post-production. Not every subscriber will be aware of Justice League‘s history and would complain about a supposed big release looking so shoddy.
Continuing the academic thought, the 2021 version will not exactly be the SnyderCut so many online fans wanted. It will be the work of someone who has spent an extra three years thinking about the film and responding to a version he did not entirely create himself. Will he maintain the original spirit — as Michael Thau did with the Donner Cut of Superman II — or will his experiences in the last several years inform the new version? This is another reason that 2017 version should surface; it can build a basis for comparison beyond the compromised theatrical version of Justice League. Perhaps WarnerMedia can reinvigorate Blu-ray sales with a physical release of all three cuts, a la Blade Runner.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is set to debut on HBO Max in 2021.