In 2017 Warner Media released Justice League mixed fanfare and much criticism. Shortly after the film’s release, the public became aware of the existence of a complete, but unfinished version of the movie made by Zack Snyder. Subsequently dubbed the Snyder Cut, it has achieved an almost cult-like devotion with fans passionately and nightmarishly persistently requesting its release from Warner Media.
In the interim between the movie’s release and yesterday’s announcement, Snyder fans have been mocked, misrepresented, and even used as caricatures of entitled fans in the feminist power trip Harley Quinn cartoon. If that wasn’t enough, the very existence of the Snyder Cut was denied and called absurd by various outlets without correction or comment from Warner Media. Despite Snyder and Aquaman star Jason Momoa saying it existed, albeit in an incomplete state.
After years of ridicule and dismissals, Snyder’s fans now have the last laugh. HBO Max has announced it will fund the completion of then air the Snyder Cut of Justice League. Chairman of Warner Media and head of Direct-To-Consumer (streaming) Robert Greenblatt relented the endless barrage of release the Snyder Cut had gotten to him, and he is happy to give the fans exactly what they want.
“Since I got here 14 months ago, the chant to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut has been a daily drumbeat in our offices and inboxes. At the end of the day, it really is all about them and we are beyond excited to be able to release Zack’s ultimate vision for this film in 2021. This could never have happened if it weren’t for the hard work and combined efforts of the teams at HBO Max and Warner Bros. Pictures.”
Other executives weighed in celebrating how they are completely behind this decision and how hard they worked to make it happen.
“When Zack and Debbie shared the extraordinary vision of where Zack wanted to take Justice League, my team and our counterparts at Warner Bros. took it as a mission to solve the many issues that stood in the way. Thanks to the partnership at Warner Bros. and the relentless pursuit of the entire WarnerMax team we are able to deliver this incredibly exciting moment for Zack, the fans and HBO Max.” – Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer at HBO Max, President, TNT, TBS and truTV.
“Thanks to the efforts of a lot people, we’re excited to bring fans this highly anticipated version of Justice League. This feels like the right time to share Zack’s story, and HBO Max is the perfect platform for it. We’re glad the creative planets aligned, allowing us to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut.” -Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.
As Warner Media attempts to utilize the excellent publicity and bonus pro-consumer PR gains, it is important to remember they initially had no faith in Snyder’s vision. Following the failure of several prominent movies, Warner Media only kept Snyder on because recruiting a new director would result in costly delays to the production of Justice League. Their solution to further reduce their costs was to take the plot Snyder planned for two movies and condense it into a singular movie that would see interference during its entire production.
Warner Media would go on to bring Joss Whedon in to carry out significant reshoots of Justice League after test audiences reacted poorly to the heavily interfered with version of Snyder’s vision. When Whedon’s cut of the movie failed, the marketing message wasn’t to pin the blame on themselves or even Whedon. It was to blame everything wrong with the movie on Snyder with everything good being directed by Whedon.
Pretending at this hour that they were champions in getting this made is at best, a disingenuous marketing ploy at best. One born of necessity as Warner Media and subsequently the entirety of AT&T’s media divisions are in dire straights. Even before the time-traveling bear virus struck AT&T’s paid television was in free fall, losing 1.4 million customers in Q3 2019 alone. Warner Media, in the same period, saw revenue decline by 4.4%, and their DC Cinematic Universe never managed to take off.
AT&T and Warner Media need their streaming service HBO Max to succeed, or the company is going to find itself in a financially troubling situation. Fortunately, it’s run by people with the foresight to stack it with loads of content on launch and understand listening to what your consumers want is a great way to make money.
— DC (@DCComics) May 20, 2020
Paying $20-30 million to complete the Snyder cut, as reported by Hollywood Reporter, is nothing compared to what will be gained. Millions of users will sign up for the service just to see how good or bad the Snyder Cut is. Many of them will opt to stay subscribed. As a bonus, if the movie indeed is popular, it opens up the possibility of having Snyder helm a dark and gritty universe. A universe Warner Media is likely keen to see take off after the success of The Joker.
Regardless of whether the Snyder Cut pans out in the end, this announcement has successfully put the name “HBO Max” in everyone’s mouth. That is not by coincidence or accident, but by a careful marketing ploy that extends even to Snyder’s statement on the matter.
“I want to thank HBO Max and Warner Brothers for this brave gesture of supporting artists and allowing their true visions to be realized. Also a special thank you to all of those involved in the SnyderCut movement for making this a reality.” -Zack Snyder
Take note of how every executive and connected personnel has carefully and deliberately name-dropped HBO Max.
Now, if only we can get the Lucas Cut for Rise of Skywalker. Unfortunately, that is something we will probably have to wait until Kennedy’s departure or untimely automobile accident to see happen.