In a reverse of the COVID-induced trend of bringing movies made for the big screen to at-home streamers, Zack Snyder is looking to bring his long-anticipated "cut" of The Justice League to movie theaters. And, if he gets his way, that movie could come tagged with an 'R' rating.
Snyder said as much when he talked about the upcoming film to Entertainment Weekly.
"Here's one piece of information nobody knows: The movie is insane and so epic and is probably rated R — that's one thing I think will happen, that it will be an R-rated version, for sure," Snyder said. "We haven't heard from the MPAA, but that's my gut."
A claim like that requires details, so it's not surprising that EW asked for those. Snyder was forthcoming with a few.
"There's one scene where Batman drops an F-bomb," he explained. "Cyborg is not too happy with what's going on with his life before he meets the Justice League, and he tends to speak his mind. And Steppenwolf is pretty much just hacking people in half. So [the rating would be due to] violence and profanity, probably both."
Another facet of this story that calls for details is why Snyder is angling for the movie to get a simultaneous theatrical release with it already planned to come out on HBO Max. Note that this all comes as HBO Max's parent company, WarnerMedia, recently made the announcement that it'd be releasing its 2021 slate on both the streamer and big screens at the same time. (Also note that this plan has been called out by Christopher Nolan and Judd Apatow, among others.)
Previously, Snyder had stated his wish that his Justice League re-cut get a dual release.
"I'm a huge fan and a big supporter of the cinematic experience, and we're already talking about Justice League playing theatrically at the same time it's coming to HBO Max," Snyder told EW. "So weirdly, it's the reverse [of the trend]."
He was also asked his take on HBO Max's now official plan. To that he said he thinks people are having to come up with ideas on the fly to adjust to COVID, while also hoping that this doesn't become a permanent thing.
"It felt like a pretty bold move and that maybe the implication wasn't 100 percent thought out," he said. "I feel like there's a lot of people panicking during COVID. I hope that, in the end, that's what this was — some sort of knee-jerk to COVID and not some sort of greater move to disrupt the theatrical experience. I thought we were kind of already getting very close to the ideal theatrical window where you still had marketing material out there and you hadn't forgotten about the film by the time it came out on DVD or streaming. I thought we were starting to hone in on that sweet spot, but this kind of throws a monkey wrench in the works."
Snyder's version of Justice League will come to HBO Max as a four-part series in 2021. As for now a theatrical release is just something he's hoping for, with no official roll-out attached.
As a refresher, Snyder was the blockbuster's original director, though he had to step down while working on the project. Joss Whedon then came in and finished up the version that hit theaters in 2017. The final product was fairly underwhelming, and a fan campaign quickly grew asking/demanding that Warner Bros. "release the Snyder Cut." Snyder's vision was eventually funded by WarnerMedia, as part of a planned limited series to be released on, duh, HBO Max. New footage was shot over the course of eight days, at a reported cost of as much at $70 million, with a release on the streamer currently planned for some time between early and mid-2021.