Zack Snyder evokes the option and fantasy of a theatrical release for Justice League version Snyder Cut, supposed to arrive on HBO Max … which still does not exist in France.
Exactly three years ago, Justice League's Warner Cut hit theaters, to become the downfall of an endless industrial joke. After a chaotic production, the departure of Zack Snyder for personal reasons, the arrival of Joss Whedon for reshoots and a studio-led edit, the blockbuster was unsurprisingly a disaster. And the box office score was in his image.
In 2020, the Justice League topic gave way to the Snyder Cut topic: the real director's version, which miraculously got validated by the studio. Zack Snyder's Justice League will thus become a 4-hour mini-series in four parts , then reassembled in a film. With an estimated budget of 70 million, this director's cut will be made up of both completely new images (an additional shoot with some of the main actors, and even additions like Jared Leto as Joker), and a mass of 'footage already shot, but cut at the time (and seen in quite a few trailers in 2017).
While a new trailer for the Snyder Cut has just been unveiled, and the director of Army of the Dead and Watchmen has embarked on an endless promotional marathon closer to the fans, he launched a crazy idea: that his movie to be seen in theaters, and not just on HBO Max.
Zack Snyder spoke about a theaters option during an interview with Ping Pong Flix:
“I love movies, I love the theatrical experience, I'm a big supporter of it. If it's possible, I'd love to have some theatrical release for Justice League.”
But the man remained realistic, while evoking the real problem: HBO Max. The Warner Bros. streaming service was launched in the United States in May 2020, but is not yet available in many territories, notably France.
“The issue of distribution is a bit beyond my skills. The reality of distribution is that Warner Bros. and HBO Max have to make deals in all of those territories, and there's this super complicated step of how to sell the movie. But with that in mind and with the luck factor, in places where maybe HBO Max doesn't exist or something like that, there might be the opportunity to nab some IMAX screens. “
Enough to imagine, at least, a few special sessions to reward fans around the world, like previews.
The Snyder Cut, so close and so far
There remains the thousand-point question: what will happen to Justice League under these conditions? A few months ago, the arrival of HBO Max in Europe was scheduled for 2021, without further details. In France, it is particularly thorny since OCS already has an exclusive agreement with HBO – hence the arrival of episodes of Game of Thrones , Chernobyl , Westworld and company, 24 hours after the American broadcast.
The creations for HBO Max illustrate the opaque situation well. The romantic series Love Life with Anna Kendrick, broadcast as soon as HBO Max launched in the United States in May, arrived in France in the wake, on OCS Max. The sci-fi series Raised by Wolves , which landed in the United States via HBO Max in September, will air in France on Warner TV, starting December 7.
Recently, OCS deputy general manager Benoît Duchesnay declared that the contract between OCS and HBO would end in “a few years” (possibly 2022), and that he was optimistic about the continuation of their collaboration. The Warner Bros. studio will he decide to set aside HBO Max in France to bet on a partnership with OCS? Or transform Warner TV into the future HBO Max? Or will we have a launch once the contract is over, with a total change of content?
Launch of HBO Max in 3, 2, 1 …
Zack Snyder's Justice League does not yet have a specific release date for 2021, but there is no doubt that its release outside the United States is an important issue. In territories where HBO was already available, such as Spain, it will be easier. Elsewhere, where there are already agreements in place, it will obviously be on a case-by-case basis: in August 2020, the boss of WarnerMedia claimed that HBO Max's strategy would be global, which can mean a lot. Especially since the studio is preparing a lot of series, from a return of Gossip Girl to projects around superheroes, like Green Lantern or The Batman .
At the end of September, Warner Bros. announced 28.7 million subscribers – including HBO subscribers, who have direct access to HBO Max. By comparison, Disney + (launched a few months earlier) now has 73.7 million subscribers. Apple TV + remains more discreet: it was around 10 million subscribers in February 2020, and an estimate of 40 million by the end of 2020. Netflix remains in the lead with almost 200 million people worldwide, followed closely by Amazon Prime Video with over 150 million.
Our report on the streaming war between Netflix and Disney +, it's here.