The months-long stand-off between independent film world titan Harvey Weinstein and South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho (The Host) over the length of the director’s preferred cut of his English-language debut Snowpiercer has finally been resolved.
The film’s planned U.S. theatrical release had been held up for quite some time as Weinstein had made known his intentions to substantially shorten the running time of Snowpiercer by around 20 minutes, a strategy the Oscar-winning producer and distributor believed would help its chances at finding a wider audience Stateside. Rumors had been floated that the re-cut version would feature added narration written by famed comics scribe and novelist Neil Gaiman (Sandman) to help bridge narrative gaps that would have been created by the loss of several scenes crucial to the story.
According to Mike Fleming, Jr. at Deadline, both Weinstein and Joon-ho have reached an armistice in their prolonged battle over which cut of Snowpiercer would be made available to American audiences. The director’s full 125-minute cut is going to be released here after all, but Weinstein is employing a different distribution plan. Instead of the nationwide theatrical release that had been planned for the studio re-cut, the film will bow in a limited platform release that will see it open in select cities and may expand to more theaters if the initial theatrical grosses justify the decision.
Joon-ho’s version of Snowpiercer has broken box office records in his native South Korea and garnered rave reviews and awards from film festivals and publications around the world. The post-apocalyptic action drama based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, and Jean-Marc Rochette stars Chris Evans, Ed Harris, Octavia Spencer, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, and John Hurt and does not have a U.S. release date as of yet but it will premiere on Blu-ray in France on April 2, 2014.