After years of campaigning on social media, fans can now stream Zack Snyder’s 4-hour Justice League. What does this say about the relationship between fandoms and film studios?
A MARTINEZ, HOST:
After years of campaigning on social media, Zack Snyder fans are getting what they asked for. You can now see his director’s cut of the DC Comics movie “Justice League” on HBO Max. Now the original came out in 2017. This version runs in a whopping four hours. Julia Alexander writes for The Verge, where she reports on the two films and the fandom behind them. Julia, for the uninitiated, how did a big budget superhero movie come about, first released in 2017 and re-released four years later?
JULIA ALEXANDER: You find an army of fans who do nothing but promote it every day and night.
MARTINEZ: I could have been one of them, Julia, just so you knew (laughter). So what are the biggest differences between the two films? Because it’s essentially the same story.
ALEXANDER: It is. However, it is day and night. I mean, from the long time to the fact that Zack Snyder’s movie comes out in four hours and a minute, to the fact that everything Joss Whedon stood in had to step down as Zack Snyder in 2017 after a personal tragedy – everything what he’s done is basically gone. The biggest change for fans everywhere is that it’s a cohesive movie that actually makes sense and is far more enjoyable.
MARTINEZ: How has the reaction been so far? It was just – what? – About a day. But there was a lot of it.
ALEXANDER: Mostly positive, I think, across the board. People are excited that they finally have Zack’s vision for them to see. People are thrilled that after four years of campaigning for what others would have called conspiracy theory, they finally got to see it. But there is also talk of what this means for companies like AT&T and Warner Media to give in to fan demand on the internet.
MARTINEZ: And we’ll come back to that in a moment, Julia. However, I wanted to ask you – you mentioned that there is a more coherent plot. I’ve only been here for about an hour. You know, as we mentioned earlier, it takes four hours. But one thing strikes me – that seems to be different. Am I imagining that?
ALEXANDER: No. I mean, that’s its aesthetic. This – anyone who likes “300” or “Watchmen” or anyone who really loves Zack Snyder movies will watch this and say, I know exactly what this looks like because it feels like a Zack Snyder movie. And I think that was missing in the original. That’s why the fan campaign started just a few weeks after the film came out in November 2017.
MARTINEZ: So about this fan campaign – because I understand that this group had both positive and negative aspects that really came to be known as Release the Snyder Cut Collective. Tell us about it very quickly.
ALEXANDER: Right. So it started on the internet, like everything nowadays. And basically there was a group of people who really wanted to see Zack’s vision. You know, they’d seen “Man Of Steel” and “Batman V Superman” and they were promised such an ending to the story that they didn’t get Zack. And part of that came from – you know, he stepped back from the movie for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of his daughter’s death. And because of this, fans – a really positive side of it – raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for suicide prevention awareness. And they really went out of their way just to fight for the film’s integrity. But with every kind of faceless group on the internet, with positives, negatives come. And so you have a lot of people who would be hiding behind avatars with Batman or Flash sending really hideous, gross death threats to critics and other people all over the internet.
MARTINEZ: Julia, you know, I called that a director’s cut. But that’s basically a fan cut, isn’t it?
ALEXANDER: It’s a fan cut. It’s a bigger win for DC Universe fans than anyone other than maybe Zack Snyder.
MARTINEZ: Julia Alexander from The Verge. Julia, thank you very much.
ALEXANDER: Thank you.
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