Dawn of the Dead still

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (100 min.)
  • Unrated Director’s Cut (109 min.)

Director Zack Snyder burst onto the scene with his remake of the beloved and much respected Dawn of the Dead in 2004 that carried the same name as the George A. Romero classic. Dawn of the Dead was released in a unrated director’s cut on DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD but the theatrical cut was only released on DVD. In 2017 Shout! Factory released the film in a collector’s edition on Blu-ray that included both cuts of the film.

When playing the unrated director’s cut an introduction by Snyder automatically starts where he talks about his preferred cut:

“The movie [unrated director’s cut] contains more gore, little more character, the reason why we had to take some these scenes originally was because for intense the extra zombie scenes or the extra gore scenes they might have been little bit much for the MPAA… In the unrated world we can do whatever we want.”

Snyder then adds:

The movie [unrated director’s cut] is a little bit longer, so you’ll have to prepare yourself for that. I hope you’re able to enjoy it the way I do, because for me it’s a little bit more personal than the movie [theatrical cut] you saw in the theaters so sit back and relax and I hope you enjoy it.

Source: “Introduction to the Director’s Cut by Zack Snyder” featurette on Shout! Factory’s release of Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray

The director’s preferred edition: Unrated Director’s Cut

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Two-Minute Warning (1976)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (115 min.)
  • Network Television Broadcast Version / NBC TV Version (142 min.)

The action-thriller Two-Minute Warning starring Charlton Heston from 1976 was disowned by director Larry Peerce when it premiered on TV in 1978. Universal made a deal with NBC to premiere the film on TV if the violence was soften with a new edit and new additional scenes. Almost 40 minutes of new footage was shot and edited into the film for the TV premiere. Instead of crediting Peerce as the film’s director the pseudonymous “Gene Palmer” was used.

Shout Factory! released Two-Minute Warning on Blu-ray in 2016 where both cuts of the film were included on the disc. Although the theatrical cut is in HD the TV version is only in SD. The Blu-ray distributor 101 Film in the UK also released the movie on Blu-ray where it only included the theatrical cut. Both releases include an interview with Peerce where he says the following:

“In those days NBC wouldn’t take Two-Minute Warning because of the basic theme of the film and the violence in the film. And they said, “if you will remake it and shoot a different ending, we’ll give you a three hour special network release on it,” which would mean a big deal of money obviously for the studio. And they unbeknownst to me they did this whole script. According to the rules of my union, the director of the film has to be given the chance to direct any pickups like that or reshoots that you do on a film. And they sent me the script and I read it and I said “oh my good, this is horrible,” I don’t mean to hurt anybodies feelings but it was terrible. They said “Well Larry, we want you to direct this,” but I said “not a chance, I don’t want to go near it.” So I turned it down and somebody else did it, but it was ridicules. It was appalling.”

Source: Interview with Director Larry Peerce from the Shout Factory/101 Films Blu-ray release of Two-Minute Warning

The director’s preferred edition: Theatrical Cut

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The Boondock Saints (1999)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (108 min., 21 sec.)
  • Unrated (108 min., 26 sec.)

The cult favorite The Boondock Saints has a large following since its initial release in 1999. In 2006 writer-director Troy Duffy returned to his debut to include 5 seconds that were cut out of the original release to ensure R-rating for the film in the US. Originally it received NC-17 rating, and with that rating Blockbuster Video wouldn’t stock it. The unrated cut was originally released as a stand alone release in 2006. The Blu-ray release includes both the theatrical and unrated cuts.

IGN interviewed Duffy in 2006 when the unrated cut of The Boondock Saints was originally released. Although Duffy talks about the difference between the theatrical cut and the unrated being minutes, the time difference is only 5 seconds.

IGN DVD: Maybe just to start off you can talk about the differences between this ‘Unrated’ version of the film and the original cut.

Troy Duffy: What it is was my first cut of the film. It got rated NC-17, and there’s only a few minutes difference, but it’s going to be very noticeable to Boondock fans and it’s only differences in scenes where people die. There’s a lot more blood work, and a lot more sort of slow-motion gun ballet violence in it. I think it’s only about two and a half minutes longer than the regular version. But cutting those scenes, when we got the NC-17 I challenged it with the MPAA. You go before this arbitration board called CARA and you plead your case and MPAA sends a representative over to plead their case and you plead your case and they screen the movie beforehand in front of, you know, nine 60-year old housewives that are just going to basically support whatever the MPAA wants to do. Anyway, I had to cut it to an R to get distribution; we had a deal with Blockbuster and they only release R [-rated movies]. So cutting it was like slicing up your baby; all of those shots, especially the slow-motion violence and the blood and all that, those were hard-earned shots – well-orchestrated, everybody on set had to contribute to getting those correct, and it was real hard to cut those out. I’m glad Fox is releasing this version because it’s the one I originally intended. So the difference though only minute-wise is slight, it’s going to be very impactful for the fans.

Source: Interview: Troy Duffy, IGN

The director’s preferred edition: Unrated

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Rango (2011)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (107 min.)
  • Extended Cut (112 min.)

The award winning animation movie Rango is one of few animation features that have been released in a extended cut on home video formats (The Iron Giant was released in an alternative cut on Blu-ray). The quirky Academy Award winning animation film reunited actor Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski for the fourth time in a 8 year span before they headed into the sunset with the big budget western The Lone Ranger in 2013. Both the DVD and Blu-ray released include the theatrical and extended cuts of the film.

IGN interviewed Verbinski in 2011 where he was asked about the extended cut of the film, where he says:

“And I think for those people who want more, there’s more. It’s a couple minutes. And I think there’s some real fun humor. It just seemed like it was a bit of a hat on a hat. It didn’t need an epilogue, the movie didn’t seem like it needed one. It was a tough decision, but I think it was the right one.”

Source: Interview with Rango director Gore Verbinski, IGN

The director’s preferred edition: Theatrical Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of Movie-Censorship.com

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The Outsiders (1983)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (91 min.)
  • The Complete Novel (115 min.)

The coming-of-age drama The Outsiders from director Francis Ford Coppola was met with mixed reviews when it premiered in 1983. The film adaptation of S. E. Hinton’s controversial book had left many important character building scenes on the editing floor and was clocking at merely 91 minutes. In 2005 Coppola and Warner Bros re-released The Outsiders as The Outsiders: The Complete Novel where Coppola had added 22 minutes of new scenes and remixed the soundtrack with more fitting 60’s music.

The theatrical cut of The Outsiders is only available on DVD where the Complete Novel is available both on DVD and Blu-ray. In an introduction on the Complete Novel Coppola shed some light on the difficulties behind the scenes on the making of the film and talks about how the new cut came to be:

“Now, unfortunately when the film was done there was some difference in opinion between myself and one of the producers, who felt that the movie was too long and was not emotional enough and perhaps beat around the bush and it should get more right into the juicy scenes. So I did shortened it.”

Later in the introduction Coppola states:

“…so here is The Outsiders: The Complete Novel as I think it should be showed.”

Source: Introduction by director Francis Ford Coppola on The Outsiders: The Complete Novel Blu-ray

The director’s preferred edition: The Complete Novel

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Betty Blue (1986)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (121 min.)
  • Extended Director’s Cut (185 min.)

The Academy Award nominated French drama Betty Blue, or 37°2 le matin as it’s known in France, was released in a extended director’s cut in 2005. Both the theatrical cut and the extended director’s cut are available on DVD and Blu-ray. Alex Simon with The Hollywood Interview interviewed director Jean-Jacquest Beineix in 2009 where he talked about the longer cut of Betty Blue:

“My rough cut of Betty Blue was four hours long. I had been so traumatized by the experience of doing Moon in the Gutter, which I’d recut, and recut, I just decided to play it safe and cut it down to a “reasonable” length, which would serve the action, that would make the distributors happy and allow them to have one or two extra showings per day. It’s interesting, after I did the director’s cut of Betty Blue, I approached Gaumont and said that I’d like to do the same thing with Moon in the Gutter, because I thought I could improve the movie. They said no, because they’d destroyed everything: all the doubles, the negatives, all the footage that was excised from the final cut, is now gone. That was the worst thing in my career that has happened. It enrages me sometimes when I think about it, then it goes away, then it comes back. But I’m very happy with the three-hour cut of Betty Blue that you’ll see on DVD. I think it’s much better.”

Source: Jean-Jacquest Beineix: Divas and Lions and Moons, Oh My! By Alex Simon, The Hollywood Interview

The director’s preferred edition: Extended Director’s Cut

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Con Air still

Con Air (1997)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (115 min.)
  • Unrated Extended Edition (122 min.)

The action-packed Jerry Bruckheimer produced Con Air starring Nicolas Cage was released in an unrated extended edition on DVD in 2006 that included 7 minutes of new footage. The Blu-ray release has the theatrical cut while the unrated extended edition is available on DVD. Director Simon West confirmed with This or That Edition his preferred cut:

The director’s preferred edition: Theatrical Cut

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The Handmaiden (2016)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (146 min.)
  • Extended Cut (168 min.)

The South Korean thriller The Handmaiden (or Ah-ha-ssi) directed by Park Chan-wook from 2016 was praised by critics and audiences alike. In an enlightened interview with Collider, Chan-wook revealed that he had just finished working on an extended cut of The Handmaiden that was actually made at the behest of the fans. The British distributor Curzon Artificial Eye released a special edition of The Handmaiden on Blu-ray which includes both cuts of the film.

In the interview with Collider, Chan-wook stated with the help of an translator, his preferred cut of The Handmaiden:

“…So before The Handmaiden the only other alternative version of his film was Thirst where he can’t remember exactly what he called it, it may have been director’s cut or may have been the extended version edition, but either way Thirst was the only case where he had extended version, alternative version that’s in the Blu-ray as well. In the case of Thirst he definitely prefers the longer version. In the case of The Handmaiden he’s not sure they both have their pros and cons and very clear ones at that. Maybe the fans, these enthusiastic fans he mentioned, they probably prefer and love the extended edition over the released version. If you would ask him what you would recommend the first time audience seeing his film, he would actually recommend the released version.”

Source: Interview: Director Park Chan-wook on How Fans in Korea Demanded an Extended Edition of ‘The Handmaiden’

The director’s preferred edition: Theatrical Cut

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Léon The Professional

Léon (1994)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (110 min.)
  • International version / Extended Cut / Version intégrale (133 min.)

Luc Besson’s Léon or The Professional (as it was known in the States) is widely considered a classic. Although the movie has a large following not everyone knows that a thematically different cut, often billed as the international version or extended cut, of the film is available. And when we say thematically we’re saying the longer cut changes drastically the dynamic of the relationship of its leads, Léon and Mathilda, in the second act of the movie.

The longer cut has been called many names since its premiere in 1996: international version, extended cut, version intégrale and even director’s cut but Besson has often talked about the theatrical cut as his director’s cut of the film. The theatrical cut is the cut that he delivered and wanted to be seen in 1994. Most Blu-ray releases of Léon includes both the theatrical cut and the extended/international cut.

Besson confirmed his preference with This or That Edition during an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit:

Luc Besson Reddit Preference

Source: Interview: Hey, Reddit. I’m Luc Besson, director, screenwriter, and fan of all things scifi. Here’s your chance… AMA!

The director’s preferred edition: International version / Extended Cut / Version intégrale

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Mr. Nobody (2009)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (137 min.)
  • Extended Director’s Cut (156 min.)

Jaco Van Dormael’s Sci-Fi drama Mr. Nobody starring Jaret Leto was released in an extended director’s cut on DVD and Blu-ray in 2014. The Blu-ray release includes both the theatrical cut and the extended director’s cut. CraveOnline interviewed Van Dormael in 2013 where the interview started with the question of there were any longer cuts of the film:

CraveOnline: Have there been any cuts or alternate versions for the U.S. release?
Jaco Van Dormael: The original version which is something like 20 minutes more will be on VOD and on DVD too. It’s a little shorter for the theaters because of the length. Some people prefer the short version, some people prefer the long version. I prefer, of course, the director’s cut because I am the director.

Source: Exclusive Interview: Jaco Van Dormael on Mr. Nobody, CraveOnline

The director’s preferred edition: Extended Director’s Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of Movie-Censorship.com

List of different editions with courtesy of DVDCompare.net: DVD | Blu-ray

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