I’ve been talking and reporting on the troubles between Harvey Weinstein, director Bong Joon-ho and the entire cast of Snowpiercer for some time now. It all began last year when Weinstein insisted on twenty minutes of cuts for the US release, and possibly other territories as well. Fans were angry, director, cast and crew were angry.
The film played in its native South Korea and became the country’s biggest film of all time, and has since played at other film festivals to worldwide critical acclaim. Then, a test screening of a cut and uncut version were shown to select audiences in the US, and the uncut version got the best reaction. So far, everyone who has seen it (with some hailing it a masterpiece) has seen the directors cut, Joon-ho’s original vision.
A battle has been raging for months, with cast members openly talking about their disgust that the film would be butchered by Weinstein, and all this negativity seems to have taken its toll. A truce was agreed in the early hours of today, and Weinstein has agreed to not cut Snowpiercer, and will release it in cinemas in the directors original version.
However, according to Deadline, instead of giving the film a massive opening in all cinemas as it should have (and considering the cast involved, it DEMANDS a proper release), Snowpiercer will now have a much smaller cinema release in only selected cinemas.
A disagreement between filmmaker and distributor Harvey Weinstein over length and pacing of the Bong Joon-Ho helmed Snowpiercer has been resolved, I hear. Weinstein bought U.S. rights on the movie back in 2012 AFM on the basis of script and some sample footage. A wide release was in the contract, until the director turned in a cut of just beyond two and one-half hours. The truce is basically that the director keeps the length of his action film but instead of a wide release, it will be a platform release with a roll out. I am told the picture is not being dumped.
So its good news and bad news I’m afraid, but the positive here is that Snowpiercer will be shown in its entirety, and that my friends is a very good reason to celebrate!
Snowpiercer is written and directed by Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Memories of Murder)
The cast includes Song Kang-ho, Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremner, Octavia Spencer and Luke Pasqualino. Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Thirst, Stoker) produces.
The film opened on 1st August 2013 in South Korea, but no UK or US release date has been announced yet.
Snowpiercer is set in a future where, after a failed experiment to stop global warming, an Ice Age kills off all life on the planet except for the inhabitants of the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe and is powered by a sacred perpetual-motion engine. A class system evolves on the train but a revolution brews.