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

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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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

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

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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

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

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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

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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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

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

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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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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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The Great Raid (2005)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (133 min.)
  • Unrated Director’s Cut (131 min.)

The 2005 WWII film The Great Raid was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the US as an exclusive unrated director’s cut. The Canadian newspaper Pilipino Express interviewed director John Dahl in 2006 where he states the following:

Pilipino Express: Some of the scenes with Margaret Utinsky and the Filipino underground resistance movement were in the theatrical release but they weren’t included in your Director’s Cut on DVD. (They can still be viewed in the DVD’s supplementary material). Why was that?

John Dahl: I always liked those scenes, but felt like they slowed down the story. The studio liked those scenes because they felt the audience would relate to Margaret. There is nothing really wrong with the theatrical version, I just prefer the Director’s Cut. It feels a little less contrived to me. The shootout in Manila and the Rizal Bridge were kind of “Hollywood Action Movie Scenes,” which I didn’t feel the movie needed. I never really saw it as an action film, more a straight-out drama with some action at the end of the film.

Source: An interview with Great Raid director, John Dahl, Pilipino Express

The director’s preferred edition: Unrated 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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Live Free or Die Hard / Die Hard 4.0 (2007)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (128 min.)
  • Unrated (128 min.)

Live Free or Die Hard or Die Hard 4.0 or simply Die Hard 4 is as the titles vaguely indicate is the fourth Die Hard movie. The relentlessly bloody and profanity filled adventures of John McClane have been the popular franchise trademarks. But in 2007 the franchise strayed from its trademarks and even managed to skip the ever classic line “yippee ki-yay, motherfucker” due to the simple fact that Die Hard 4 was rated PG-13. There are two cuts of Die Hard 4 available: the PG-13 rated theatrical cut and an unrated cut. The difference in length is minimal (unrated is only 8 seconds longer than the theatrical cut) but the unrated cut adds computer generated blood and a different dialog that has strong language.

Film Ireland interviewed director Len Wiseman where he talked about the PG-13 rating and how he lost the ratings fight with the studio:

“The director also admitted his disappointment at how the studio censored that film. ‘I shot a rated R movie,’ he insisted, and referenced the ‘Harder’ cut available on DVD. ‘I had no idea it was going to be PG-13; that came in halfway through the process. And I gotta tell you as a fan I felt like ‘I’m gonna walk.’ If they it PG-13! You know Bruce was really up in arms about it and everything. But in the end it was the most expensive Die Hard. It was also my first studio film, so I lost that battle over the rating. I’m not big on doing the cartoon gore. But McClane is McClane, so that’s really why I was glad to get that (the extended cut) out.’”

Source: Interview: Len Wiseman, director of ‘Total Recall’, Film Ireland

The director’s preferred edition: Unrated 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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