We previously reported that The Weinstein Company had demanded 20 minutes be cut from the record-breaking film ‘Snowpiercer‘, directed by Bong Joon-ho which shattered box offices in Korea, from the English-speaking version for audiences in the US, UK, Australia and other regions where TWC will distribute the movie. The film, which depicts the last humans on Earth sharing a perpetually traveling train after an experiment to prevent global warming results in the planet being engulfed in an eternal winter, stars an international cast including Kang-ho Song, Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Octavia Spencer and John Hurt. Reportedly, Harvey Weinstein wanted the movie to move faster and feel more like an action movie, thus requesting some slower, character-building moments be cut out and requesting that narration be added to the beginning and ending, apparently to clarify matters for English-speaking audiences.
The Weinstein Company did, in fact, cut twenty minutes from the film to show for a test audience in New Jersey, but that is not an official cut of the movie. On the flip-side, the full-length version was screened for another test audience in Los Angeles and scored much higher than the Weinstein cut.
But as stated, the shorter version that TWC showed in Jersey is not the official edit that will (may?) be released in English-speaking regions. That version, should it transpire, will be cut by Joon-ho, but he is still negotiating with TWC as to which version will be released. As the director explains:
“It’s still going on. Some aspects are a little bit exaggerated. Some people misunderstood that there already exists a North American version with 20 minutes cut out. But that kind of version doesn’t exist. Officially the negotiation is still going on, and I’m trying my best to keep my own version and also the CJ people (the Korean investors/distributors) are trying to confirm the release date, the marketing plan and many other things they are still negotiating and the funny thing is once there did exist a 20-minute cut-out version, a Weinstein version of ‘Snowpiercer’, they had a screening of that version in New Jersey in July. Then CJ did another test screening of my original version in LA with a normal American audience, and with my version the response was much higher than the scores from the Weinstein version.”
He went on to add:
“In the case of editing, I was involved, I visited the Weinstein company, they are really nice people and we had a lot of conversations about the tastes of North American audiences, and about which parts we can reduce a little bit. Actually Harvey Weinstein wants to speed up the movie. I’m not that kind of young, innocent film school student who is saying “Nobody can touch my movie!!” I’m not like that, I can negotiate, but I really hope to protect and keep my vision. The unique tone and mood of the movie and I don’t want to destroy the details of the characters. So it’s still going on.”
‘Snowpiercer’ is getting rave reviews, so I don’t know that a shorter, more action-packed version would be any more appealing. What good is action, if the characters don’t resonate. But as of now, there isn’t a release date for the US et. al.
What do you think? Are you looking forward to ‘Snowpiercer’?