The last time Screen Rant reported on Inglourious Basterds' runtime it was said that writer/director Quentin Tarantino was actually about twenty minutes under what he was contractually obligated to produce, with the cut showed at Cannes being 2 hours 27 minutes.
Tarantino himself said that he would be re-editing Inglourious Basterds post-Cannes, perhaps even adding an entire scene to reach the 2 hour 48 minute runtime. However, in lieu of the widespread rumors that The Weinstein Company is currently having financial problems, it is being reported that they DON'T want to lengthen the film but rather cut it down... by a whopping 40 minutes!
According to The Wrap (thanks to Slash Film), the Weinsteins are in desperate need of a hit film, and since Inglourious Basterds didn't receive 100% positive reviews (most were, but some weren't), it seems they don't want to release a 2.75 hour version of the Basterds, at least not in North America. Apparently the Weinsteins and co-producer Universal are currently trying to convince Tarantino to re-edit Basterds by cutting 40 minutes, citing that the 2 hour 40 minute length it originally was supposed to be is considered, "too long, especially for American audiences."
Is this a case of the Weinsteins wanting to tighten up the runtime to make Inglourious Basterds a better movie? Or is this just to squeeze as much money out of it as humanly possible? Looking at the reported financial situation the company is in, I'd lean towards the latter. There's no doubting that more people will see Inglourious Basterds if the runtime is shorter (not to mention the fact that more screenings of the movie can be fitted into a single day), and if I were in the Weinstein's situation, I might be tempted to do what they're doing with the film (notice I said tempted, not that I actually would).
Personally, I think Inglourious Basterds is a film that will find its audience no matter how long the runtime. People (such as myself) who are fans of Tarantino's movies will gladly sit through almost three hours of Basterds. With the type of film it is, I also think it'll do decently at the box office, even if it isn't a monster hit. And let's not forget the DVD market, where, as with all of Tarantino's movies, I'm sure Basterds will do pretty well - the inevitable homages and infectious Tarantino dialogue oughta' take care of that.
The Weinsteins recently showed their meddling ways when they supposedly tampered with the trailer for the upcoming film, The Road. Screen Rant writer Kofi Outlaw pointed out the misleading footage put into that trailer to make it look like something it's not, simply because the Weinsteins didn't think the true nature of the movie would draw in audiences. It also seems that the Weinsteins think American audiences can't handle a long cut of Inglourious Basterds - I agree it might not do AS well, but surely not as badly as Bob and Harvey seem to think it will.
What do you think of The Weinstein Company apparently wanting to cut 40 minutes from Inglourious Basterds? Do you think Tarantino should cut that much, if anything at all?
Inglourious Basterds is scheduled to be released on August 21st, 2009.
Sources: The Wrap via /Film