For two years now, we’ve had to deal with some form or another of “Release The Snyder Cut”, a referendum on the failure of Justice League at the box office and a conspiracy theory that insists there’s a superior version of the film sitting around but that Warner Bros. won’t release it. This culminated yesterday when that fan outcry spread to the actors of the film when Gal Gadot tweeted “#ReleasetheSnyderCut”, Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg, jumped on board, Zack Snyder himself retweeted Gadot, and finally Ben Affleck also tweeted out the hashtag.
THR reports that despite this swell of support, “no announcement of a release of any such cut is imminent.”
First, let’s break down what the “Snyder Cut” is and is not. It is not a finished version of the movie by any stretch. Before Snyder left the project, there was a cut of the movie, but it did not meet with what WB wanted. Keep in mind that at this stage, the cut of the film would not have the benefit of finished VFX or reshoots. To finish the VFX would be expensive and reshoots would be pretty much impossible since you’d have to coordinate all the actors’ schedule and probably pay them more money since they technically fulfilled their contracts’ stipulation for reshoots when director Joss Whedon came on board.
Second, what fans need to understand is that Warner Bros. is running a business, and to invest the money in releasing the Snyder Cut (insofar as it even can be released; remember, there are no reshoots so the footage he has is all he can work with) means that there needs to be a return on that investment. Fandom can be great for fostering discussion and creating community, but it can also, as we’ve seen in this case, create a conspiracy of sorts that blinds people to the larger realities of what’s required. If Warner Bros. is going to go to the trouble of paying to finish the VFX and marketing a new cut, they need to have some kind of confidence that a sizable audience will turn out for that, and fans aren’t enough.
Put yourself in the shoes of an average moviegoer. You already skipped Justice League the first time around because you heard it wasn’t very good. If you heard that the studio had invested more money into realizing the vision from the director of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, would that be enough to see another superhero movie when the marketplace is already flooded with them? Is the best use of Warner Bros’ resources to take another chance on a film that flopped two years ago?
Personally, I’d like to see Zack Snyder’s cut of the movie simply because I think it’s more interesting to see a director’s personal vision rather than the Frankenstein’d studio cut we got two years ago. But I also think we need to recognize the serious hurdles to making that happen, and just constantly tweeting out #ReleaseTheSnyderCut isn’t a convincing case to spend more money on Justice League.