The guys over at Collider were attending a press junket for Watchmen recently and made the savvy move of asking director Zack Snyder some pointed questions about what fans can expect to see from the Watchmen DVD/Blu-ray when it is released this summer - probably some time in early August.
Up until now there's been unofficial speculation that the Watchmen DVD/Blu-ray would feature an extended cut of the film--one that possibly included Tales of The Black Freighter, Watchmen's animated story-within-a-story, interwoven with the live-action film much as it was in the original graphic novel.
Well now Zack Snyder has confirmed exactly what the Watchmen DVD/Blu-ray will and will not feature, so if you want to know just how much extra Watchmen you'll be getting for your buck, check out what Snyder had to say:
Collider: What is the final running time on the DVD and what can fans look forward to?
Zack: The final running time without the Black Freighter is 3 hours and 10 minutes.
Collider: When you say the Black Freighter, so you’re going to put in some of the animated bits?
Zack: No. The Black Freighter version of the movie, which we call the final cut or the ultimate cut – it has a marketed name that I don’t know exactly what it is. That version of the movie, because when we were up there we physically shot the in’s and out’s, scenes at the newsstand that go into the movie. There’s like scenes where our characters pass the newsstand and then we pick up action at the newsstand and it gets us into the Black Freighter….with shots that go into it and it comes to life and you follow the Black Freighter story and then come back into the movie. That version of the movie is the director’s cut with the Black Freighter intercut. That version sort of traces the structure of the Black Freighter that's integrated into the comic book… So that version is the 3 hour and 25 minute version. So you have all those in’s and out’s…but the director’s cut includes the Hollis death stuff, that’s just a lot more connective tissue…it’s hard for me to even remember exactly what’s in it. But it’s just a lot more.
Collider: So let me ask you, is there footage that isn’t going in this director’s cut that’s sitting on the sidelines…or is this really everything?
Zack: It’s really pretty much everything. The 3 hour version is pretty much everything. There was very little that we shot that I didn’t like or use.
So if you're not clear: the DVD/Blu-ray will come in two versions. One is a director's cut that is 3 hours 10 minutes, featuring scenes cut from the 2 hour 36 minute theatrical release; the other version is the 3 hour 25 minute "ultimate cut" that will feature the director's cut footage as well as intercuts back and forth between Watchmen and Tales of The Black Freighter.
I'm surprised that the "ultimate" cut only runs 15 minutes longer than the director's cut. Is the stand-alone version of Tales of The Black Freighter that is being released on March 24, 2009, going to feature scenes that WON'T be included in the "ultimate cut" Watchmen DVD/Blu-ray? It certainly seems like it. Damn, that means I'll have to watch Tales of The Black Freighter if I want to get the whole Watchmen experience. Slick move, Warner Bros. Slick move indeed...
Also, nobody mentioned it in the Collider interview, but what about the Hollis Mason documentary Under The Hood? It's going to be featured on the Black Freighter DVD/Blu-ray but it looks like it's not going to be spliced into the "ultimate cut" of Watchmen. That's kind of a drag: seeing Under The Hood mixed in with the theatrical film was something I was kinda looking forward to--even more than the Black Freighter scenes...
Before their time was up, Collider also managed to snag a few quotes about the upcoming Watchmen DVD/Blu-ray from Debbie Snyder, Zack's wife and one of the producer's of the film:
Collider: What is coming on the DVD? Is there a director’s cut? A separate theatrical cut?
Debbie Snyder: They’re all done because we had to finish them all at the same time. We have the 3 hour director’s cut which will be released at the first release of the DVD…which will probably be around Comic-Con of this year.
Collider: Can I ask you, is there going to be a theatrical cut and a director’s cut on the same DVD or are these separate DVDs?
Debbie: I think on one of them, I don’t know if it’s the Blu-ray, I think it does exist together. But don’t hold me to it. We also did the craziest thing ever called “The In-Movie Experience” for Blu-ray which I’ve never seen before…where Zack actually…it’s like a director’s commentary but it’s him and there are all these boxes and they’ll play the movie and he’ll point to a scene and they’ll deconstruct the scene on all these monitors behind him where you can see the green screen version of it. Or if it’s Dr. Manhattan you can see some great effects. It’s kind of like “Minority Report” as it feels very futuristic. And then there will be, I believe, in the fall the Ultimate Watchmen cut which will have the Black Freighter thread through the film which includes the ins and outs that we shot at the newsstand so that’s pretty fun. And another thing is we finished all the versions and it was an enormous amount of money because of Dr. Manhattan. Because if you think about it, it was an hour difference between the theatrical version, so it’s a lot of visual effects on Dr. Manhattan and we finished it at the same quality so we were really excited that they let us do that.
Whoa, that "In-Movie Experience" sounds crazy futuristic. So the first version of the Watchmen DVD/Blu-ray (featuring the theatrical cut and the 3 hour 10 minute director's cut) will hit stores in late July, around the time San Diego Comic Con kicks off. The second version of the DVD/Blu-ray (featuring the director's cut of the film spliced with the Black Freighter scenes) will hit stores in the fall of 2009, date TBD.
So what do you think: Are you satisfied with options currently on the table, or do you feel Warner Bros. is trying to push too many versions of Watchmen on us?