Snowpiercer - Compromise has been Reached
A few days ago, John Hurt commented negatively about Harvey Weinstein's plans to show the postapocalyptic film Snowpiercer in US cinemas with 20 minutes of footage missing. And it looks like that dispute has since been settled in a compromise with the South Korean director who wanted his Director's Cut to be shown.
The Weinstein Company was initially binded by contract to give the film a wide release in US cinemas, meaning that it would have been shown in 800-1000 venues (an exact number for Snowpiercer is not available). Of course, that always goes hand in hand with an extensive and expensive marketing campaign that has to convince cinema owners to take the film into their program. But this issue the problem that Weinstein had since he felt that the movie made that process harder with its running time of a little over 2.5 hours. Therefore, he wanted to shorten it.
The compromise now includes that the director passes on the wide release so that the film can get a limited release in its uncut form. It will therefore start off in just a few cinemas and - depending on the success - will then have the opportunity to be shown in more and more cinemas. It is a common strategy in the US. For example, the Oscar-nominated 12 Years a Slave started in only 19 cinemas and then got extensions to 123, 400 and eventually more than 1000.
An US release date is not yet set for Snowpiercer and it's surely the case that everyone involved would be happy if it became a success. But when the film even fails to perform with a limited release, Harvey Weinstein would have a big ace up his sleeve when the next filmmaker tries to challenge his opinion with an ambitioned film. He could then always reference to Snowpiercer and that it would have been more successful if it were shortened. And nobody could prove that he's wrong.