A few months ago I would have said there was no way we'd see see the fabled "Snyder Cut" of Justice League.
Almost as soon as that film was released fans were asking to see Zack Snyder's original cut which was screened for Warner Bros executives and was the point where it was decided to go back and reshoot big chunks of the film. Fans started a long and loud campaign to #releasethesnydercut - which simultaneously raised awareness and raise money for suicide prevention. I assumed it was going to go nowhere.
But then the director posted several screenshots, then a photo of the film canister, and then (possibly due to the stalled movie industry and the need for streaming exclusives) it was announced the film would be released as a HBO MAX exclusive.
Following that fans - DC fans in particular - have been looking for other unreleased cuts to champion in the hopes they too can be released - starting with David Ayer's original cut of Suicide Squad.
This week saw a rumour that a 170 minute cut of Batman Forever is sitting in Warner Brothers vaults.
Marc Bernardin was chatting to Kevin Smith on his Fatman Beyond podcast when he announced:-
“I have it on pretty good authority that there exists in the Warner Bros. vault a 170-minute cut of Batman Forever,” Bernardin told his co-host Kevin Smith. “I think that it went much deeper into his childhood psychosis and his mental blocks and that it was a more serious, darker version of that movie that was one of the first assemblies that Joel filed with the studio and they eventually cut it down because they were like ‘it’s too dark for kids. We gotta sell these Happy Meals, so maybe let’s not invest ourselves in the trauma of childhood murder. We’ve got Jim Carrey, let him do some s–t.”
Having looked into the deleted scenes myself I'm a little skeptical that so much was cut from the movie. The current cut is 129 minutes with credits. There are 15 minutes worth of deleted scenes on the DVD/Blu Ray.
There's a sprinkling of little scenes that were definitely shot and cut like Nygma at his Claw Island factory overseeing production of the box, Bruce and Alfred trying to deconstruct a box, and Sugar and Spice trying to exit Nygma's party.
The rest is surely just longer versions of existing scenes. A few extra lines here and there. I imagine lots more ad libbing from Jim Carrey.
Back in 2005 Joel Schumacher did say he'd prepared a longer cut of Batman Forever for the DVD special edition so I do believe that WB have got a longer cut (maybe 170 minutes maybe less) in their vault somewhere). The Richard Donner Cut of Superman II did get released in 2006 so this wouldn't be unprecedented.
Anyway, I was initally a little reluctant to start any petition for Batman Forever so soon after the Justice League one.
Justice League was a movie that was mangled and reshoot and retooled to the point that it was clearly obvious it had been tampered with. Batman Forever was a movie that had a little restructuring at the start (we start with a bank heist rather than merting Nygma) and a subplot about a diary removed. I don't think the changes here did too much damage. The movie plays well as it is. I don't believe the director's cut would be darker. Batman Forever isn't a dark movie. But it might be more complete and a fun alternative viewing experience.
So anyway if you want to see this longer cut of Batman Forever there's a petition you can sign here (not started by me).
Even if you're slightly curious to see it please sign it because Warner Brothers won't do anything without some sort of demand. With HBO MAX looking for exclusive content to entice prospective subscribers NOW IS THE TIME to let them know what content we'd like. The fact that Kevin Smith and Marc Bernardin are talking about this cut raises it's profile and we should capitalise on this before it fades away.