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Justice League Snyder Cut 2021 The Snyder Cut was a gamble for Warner Bros.. but it may not have .

Justice League Snyder Cut 2021 The Snyder Cut was a gamble for Warner Bros.. but it may not have .

Justice League Snyder Cut 2021 The Snyder Cut was a gamble for Warner Bros.. but it may not have .

Justice League Snyder Cut Justice League Snyder Cut a may The not Snyder gamble for was have but Warner Cut Bros., … it

Thu, 18 Mar 2021 08:00:00 -0700

WarnerMedia saw the fervent crusade for Snyder's official cut of the movie as a way to appease fans and pad HBO Max with exclusive content

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The hotly anticipated four-hour-long director's cut of "Justice League" arrived Thursday on HBO Max.

Assembled from hours of unused footage and cut together with newly filmed scenes, the Snyder Cut is an anomaly in the entertainment industry.

Driven by a yearslong fan-driven social media campaign, Zack Snyder got a second chance at crafting his version of "Justice League."

WarnerMedia, which is owned by AT&T, saw the fervent crusade for Snyder's official cut of the movie as a way to appease ardent fans and pad its streaming service HBO Max with exclusive content.

However, the risk is "Justice League" may not pay back the dividends that WarnerMedia needs it to.

The film sets up sequels that DC fans may never get to see, meaning even if it does succeed in drawing in subscribers for the month of March, there's no promise of new DC-related content on the horizon for the streaming service to keep those new sign-ups around.

Initial estimates pegged the price tag for Snyder's second take at $20 million to $30 million because many of the computer-generated images were not finished.

However, more recent estimates suggest WarnerMedia could have shelled out $70 million or more on the project as Snyder brought back several actors to shoot new material.

It's unclear if that figure includes spending on marketing.

WarnerMedia declined to comment on the project's financial terms.

The cost could be justified if WarnerMedia uses the film to gain subscribers and encourages enough current subscribers to stick with the service, said media and streaming analyst Dan Rayburn.

What may help is that HBO Max has several high-profile releases coming to its platform in March and early April.

On March 31, "Godzilla vs.

Kong" arrives on the service and, on April 16, "Mortal Kombat" will be released.

Each will spend about a month on HBO Max before heading to video on demand for a rental fee. 

This strategy of have a consistent steady stream of new content can help in retaining subscribers.

And then there are the fans.

While Snyder and DC Films President Walter Hamada have both said this updated "Justice League" will not spawn spinoffs or automatically set up a sequel, the film allows Warner Bros.

to regain some good will.

"I definitely think fans are going to be pleased," said Erik Davis, managing editor of Fandango.

Davis, who was able to view the new "Justice League" ahead of its launch on HBO Max, said the Snyder Cut is a "much better version of the film."

The Snyder Cut basically erases co-writer and co-director Joss Whedon from the film.

Whedon had been brought onboard after executives balked at Snyder's initial cut of the film and took over when Snyder left the project after the death of his daughter.

Whedon slimmed down Snyder's 214-minute version and imbued it with moments of levity, something Warner Bros.

wanted in order to mimic the comedy style that was successful in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Because Whedon's version altered so much of Snyder's work, fans have clamored to see the director's cut of "Justice League," believing it to be the purest version of the film.

In May 2020, WarnerMedia granted them that wish and invested in bringing Snyder back to finish it.

While fans will be pleased to finally have Snyder's cut, there's a major fault in Warner Bros.' plans with releasing this movie.

When Snyder was developing "Justice League" more than five years ago, the DC Extended Universe was expected to continue expanding with this cast in the same way that the MCU had unfolded.

Solo movies would build together into team-up films.

Ben Affleck was supposed to have his own stand-alone feature and Snyder was already talking about a sequel to "Justice League."

However, that plan is completely different in 2021.

All of the cameos and setups in Snyder's cut of the film will likely never be seen by DC fans.

Affleck may be attached to the upcoming "Flash" film, but it's uncertain if he will the don the cowl in any DC project after that.

Not to mention, Warner Bros.

has already gone ahead with a new Batman film starring Robert Pattinson, one that doesn't connect to any of the previous movies released by the studio.

As for Superman, Henry Cavill is still attached to the role, but it's not clear when or where his version of the character will appear next.

The studio does have plans for a Superman reboot from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and with J.J.

Abrams signed on as a producer.

It's unclear who will be cast as the Kryptonian or when that film will find its ways to theaters.

And Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg, has a frayed relationship with the studio.

The actor accused Whedon of on-set harassment and an investigation was conducted.

Fisher also had harsh things to say about DC's head, Hamada, who he claimed helped enable Whedon's actions.

As such, Fisher has said he will not participate in any film associated with Hamada.

So, Warner Bros.

would need to recast the role if they wanted to bring Cyborg back into the fold for a team-up flick.

Warner Bros.' decision to fund and release this new "Justice League" may appease fans, but it does nothing to further the cinematic universe of the franchise.

Disney, which owns Marvel, has used its streaming service Disney+ to expand on its theatrical releases.

Shows like "WandaVision," "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" and "Loki" all tie directly to the MCU and must be watched in order to understand all of the nuance of upcoming feature films.

The Snyder Cut doesn't do that.

It is exists in a vacuum.

As for the hope that fans will flock to HBO Max to see the film, boosting subscriber numbers, what matters is the longevity of their interest.

"Is it good business? Maybe." said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com.

"As a one-off release, the film may boost HBO Max subscriptions momentarily, but streamers are strongest with episodic and weekly content that keeps casual consumers coming back for binge after binge."

Robbins noted that "Justice League" is a niche film, in that its viewership demographics skew young and male.

So, while it will likely lure in fans of DC, it may not do much to move the needle on subscription sign-ups across the board, unless they are drawn to other HBO Max content.

"'Justice League' alone may not be the answer to the company's future needs, especially since the DC brand has already started moving in other directions creatively, but it may succeed as a symbolic valentine to fans," Robbins said.

AT&T seems to be feeling confident about HBO Max.

The company boosted its subscriber projections last week to a range of between 120 million and 150 million for HBO Max and HBO by the end of 2025.

In October 2019, the company set a goal of hitting 50 million U.S.

subscribers by 2025, a relatively low bar considering premium cable channel HBO already had around 33 million subscribers ahead of the streaming service's launch.

Still, there does seem to be a bit of a missed opportunity in releasing "Justice League" before HBO Max expands globally.

The platform is set to be released in around 60 markets outside the U.S.

this year and will launch a lower-cost version with advertising in June.

"Justice League" garnered the majority of its $658 million in ticket sales internationally.

It only tallied $230 million at the U.S.

box office.

WarnerMedia could have easily used "Justice League" as a lure for international launches.

Instead, it's likely that the film, which will stream in high-definition state-side, will be a choice target for international digital pirates.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

NBCUniversal owns Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes.

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Thu, 18 Mar 2021 08:00:00 -0700

There's no post-credits scene in Zack Snyder's four-hour DC superhero movie, but you'll be left with plenty to chew on

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There’s no post-credits scene in Zack Snyder’s four-hour DC superhero movie, but you’ll be left with plenty to chew on.

Batman plays a major role in the final scenes.

Zack Snyder’s much-anticipated Justice League landed on HBO Max on Thursday, bringing the director’s original vision for the DC superheroes to the streaming service.

It comes more than three years after Joss Whedon’s 2017 theatrical cut disappointed fans and sparked a massive, intense fan campaign calling for Snyder’s version.

It’s also four hours long, so you’d better be sitting comfortably with plenty of snacks before you dive into Batman and company’s epic adventure.

I can save you a little time by telling you there are no mid- or post-credits scenes as we’ve been conditioned to expect in superhero movies.

Instead, the last 20 minutes or so act as an epilogue.

Let’s take a look at what happens at the end of the film and mull over what it might mean for the future of the DC Extended Universe.

Be warned, full SPOILERS lurk ahead like a creepy clown.

Ah-ha-ha-ha.

This scene might look familiar if you saw the theatrical cut.

After stopping Steppenwolf from bringing Darkseid and the armies of the planet Apokolips to Earth, our heroes go back to their lives and generally get happy endings.

However, a guard at Arkham Asylum discovers some bald guy has taken the place of Lex Luthor (who was arrested at the end of Batman v Superman), giving the supervillain a chance to escape.

We find Lex (Jesse Eisenberg) on a yacht, where he’s joined by Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello).

The mercenary has a grudge against Batman — it seems the Bat was responsible for Deathstroke losing an eye — and Lex reveals that the Caped Crusader’s real name is Bruce Wayne so Deathstroke can kill the hero.

Sneaky Lex Luthor is hanging out on a boat.

This one is pretty straightforward: Batman and Deathstroke’s battle is about to get more personal.

Alfred had better watch out.

Lex also says he has “more important things” to do — possibly linked to the fact that he knows Darkseid is coming.

What a scamp.

The scene is also linked to the scrapped Ben Affleck solo Batman movie, which would have featured Deathstroke as the main villain.

It’s a little odd to get a reference to a canceled project (which has since been replaced by the Robert Pattinson movie), but this plot thread could be picked up somewhere down the line.

A shorter, worse version of this scene played during the credits of Whedon’s theatrical version — Lex suggests he and Deathstroke form a “league of our own” to counter the Justice League.

The new one sends Deathstroke on a more focused, Batman-murdering path rather than just having him join a team of baddies (or manage an all-female baseball team).

There’s still no explanation for Lex suddenly dressing like the Gene Hackman version of the character, though. 

The final scene jumps into a dark, yucky future (which Snyder previously teased in BvS) in which Darkseid’s forces have laid waste to Earth.

However, there’s still hope — Batman, Cyborg, the Atlantean Mera, a mohawked Deathstroke (it seems he and Bats buried the hatchet) and Flash have formed a resistance group.

And there’s one more person: Joker (Jared Leto), who’s got an excellently creepy laugh that sounds like a creaky door.

There’s a ball of tension between him and the Dark Knight, as he taunts Bats about the loved ones he’s lost — his parents and his “adopted son.” When Batman warns Joker to be careful, the clown adds a little more dramatic spice.

“You need me, to help you undo this world you created by letting her die,” he says.

“Poor Lois, how she suffered so.”

Ha.

Joker also wonders about the number of alternate timelines in which Batman has let the world be destroyed because he lacks “the cojones” to die himself.

The clown gives Batman a Joker playing card that signifies a truce between them.

If Bats wants to renew their beef, he just needs to tear up the card.

Batman counters by revealing that Harley Quinn (the Joker’s sometimes girlfriend) died in his arms, but begged Batman to give the Joker a slow death when he kills him.

Batman also drops the F-bomb here, because this post-apocalyptic scene about death and vengeance needed to be extra hardcore.

Their plans, threats and profanity all seem to be rendered moot by the arrival of Superman (back in his red and blue costume), whose eyes glow a sinister red as he prepares to get his laser on.

Hope someone has a lump of kryptonite handy (they don’t).

Bruce wakes up from this apparent nightmare in his sweet lakeside pad in the present, pre-apocalyptic world and finds Martian Manhunter (Harry Lennix) outside.

The alien hero warns Bruce that Darkseid will be back looking for the Anti-Life Equation, and pretty much offers to join the Justice League.

We get a glimpse of the post-Darkseid world, and it doesn’t like a fun place to be.

Lots to unpack here, but it sure does seem like a setup for some awesome sequels (I love seeing realities where the bad guys won).

The Joker scene was the only new one shot for the Snyder Cut — everything else was preexisting footage.

“After I realized there would be no more Zack Snyder DC movies, my biggest regret was that there was no Batman/Joker confrontation scene,” the director said in production notes.

“They both went through a series of films and never ran into each other.

It didn’t make sense to me.

So, I thought maybe I could remedy that.”

The dark future scene implies Darkseid returned to Earth in his hunt for the Anti-Life Equation, a mathematical formula that would allow him to dominate all life, and took over.

You might remember allusions to this around an hour and 40 minutes earlier in the movie, when the Kryptonian ship warned Cyborg against activating the Mother Box. 

Cyborg gave us a look at how the dark future came to be.

At that point, we got a glimpse of a reality in which a dead Wonder Woman was being burned on a funeral pyre, Aquaman had been impaled by Darkseid and Superman was cradling a charred corpse, with Darkseid looming over him.

We get confirmation that Lois Lane was the corpse, and her death left Superman emotionally devastated enough for the big baddie to dominate his will.

It sure looks like Lois was killed by Darkseid’s Omega Beam laser eye move too, which makes Supes joining him extra nasty — he really should just punch Darkseid into the sun.

We also don’t know what role Batman played in Lois’ death.

The situation is pretty similar to the one seen in the Injustice games, in which Superman becomes a ruthless dictator after Joker tricks him into killing a pregnant Lois and blowing up Metropolis.

This epilogue also links to two moments in BvS: the Flash’s warning, where future Flash uses his powers to jump back through time and warns Bruce to fear Superman, and the “Knightmare” sequence, in which Bruce dreams of a dark future in which Superman has gone bad.

The events seen in the Knightmare presumably take place after the JL scene, since Batman is alone, gets captured and is ultimately murdered by Superman.

It’s not clear why Superman is wearing his red and blue suit again in the dark future — surely the moody black outfit he wore after getting resurrected would have been a better option? In the comics, Superman wore a black suit specifically designed to help him absorb more solar radiation after returning from the dead.

If that’s the case in the movies, he didn’t need it by the time of the dark future events.

It also acts as visual differentiator between the Snyder Cut and theatrical versions of Justice League.

Back in black.

In the years since the theatrical version filled fans with disappointment, Snyder has confirmed some plot details around the Knightmare future.

Flash used a Cosmic Treadmill — a time machine he activates with his powers — to travel back in an effort to avert the dark future.

When he sees BvS Bruce, he realizes he’s gone back too far in the timeline (since Bruce hadn’t met Flash at that point).

The scene at the end of Justice League presumably takes place before Flash goes back, and the team is likely preparing for his journey through time.

Flash also appears to be wearing the armor from the Justice League epilogue when he warns BvS Bruce.

It’s unclear why Joker is necessary to undo this crappy future or how Harley died, but it’s entirely believable that this version of Batman would end the clown as soon as he can — he has no major issue with killing at any point in the timeline.

He’ll save every one of us.

The “adopted son” line alludes to Robin’s death at Joker’s hands.

You might remember seeing a graffitied Robin costume in BvS — this was intended to be the Dick Grayson version of the character.

In the comics, Joker killed Jason Todd (the second Robin).

Since there are no plans for more Snyder-led DC movies, it’s possible this plotline will never continue or it’ll play out in next year’s Flash movie.

It’ll see Affleck as Batman again, along with Michael Keaton’s Batman returning to the version of the character from the Tim Burton series and Pattinson playing a completely new one in Matt Reeves’ The Batman.

We might also see Martian Manhunter show up in The Flash.

My brain is sleepy now; too much time travel and alternate realities.

Wake me up when Flash is out.

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– March 18, 2021

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