Payback (1999)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical (90 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (101 min.)

When Paramount Pictures were presented with the neo noir revenge film Payback in 1998 it was deemed too dark for mainstream audience. Director Brian Helgeland was given the chance to retool the movie but declined, and production designer John Myhre was given a go at it. Myhre reshot 30% of the film, including a quite different and lighter ending.

Helgelands director’s cut is available in the US on Blu-ray and DVD as Straight Up: The Director’s Cut. The UK Blu-ray edition of Payback contains both editions of the film.

“I can’t speak so much to what is different about my version, than the theatrical version, because I only ever really analyzed my own version and what I’m trying to do with that version. The theatrical version to me, it’s what became once I wasn’t involved anymore on it.” – Brian Helgeland

Source: Same Story… Different Movie: Creating Payback the Director’s Cut, a featurette extra on Blu-ray

The director’s preferred edition: Director’s Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of

Donnie Darko (2001)

  • Theatrical (113 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (133 min.)

Donnie Darko has a cult following since it’s initial release in 2001. Director Richard Kelly released a director’s cut of the film in 2004 adding more than 20 minutes of footage and an altered soundtrack.

Kelly confirmed with This or That Edition which edition he preferred:

The director’s preferred edition: Both

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical (115 min.)
  • 20th Anniversary Edition (120 min.)

The sci-fi classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was re-released in theaters on its 20th Anniversary in 2002 with extra footage with blessing from Steven Spielberg. Not only was the new edition longer it also had altered special effects. Fans were outraged by Spielberg’s decision and later he said he regretted those changes.

“When people ask me which E.T. they should look at, I always tell them to look at the original 1982 E.T.” said Spielberg in an interview with Ain’t It Cool News. “If you notice, when we did put out E.T. we put out two E.T.s. We put out the digitally enhanced version with the additional scenes and for no extra money, in the same package, we put out the original ‘82 version. I always tell people to go back to the ’82 version.”


The director’s preferred edition: Theatrical

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of

Dances with Wolves (1990)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical (181 min.)
  • Extended (234 min.)

Kevin Costner directed,  produced and starred in the Oscar winning film Dances with Wolves in 1990. The movie won 7 Oscars including Best Picture, Director and Best Screenplay Based on Material From Another Medium. Two editions of the movie are available on Blu-ray: Theatrical in the UK and Extended in the US, the latter is a cut by the producer Jim Wilson.

”I didn’t work on the long version of Dances With Wolves,” said Costner according to Entertainment Weekly. ”I release the versions I want. They are long, so I don’t need for ’em to be any longer.”

Source: Entertainment Weekly

The director’s preferred edition: Theatrical

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of

Alien (1979)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical (117 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (116 min.)

British director Ridley Scott, like Stanley Kubrick with 2001, changed the way we looked to space with the nail biting thriller Alien. In 2003 20th Century Fox released the Alien Quadrilogy set on DVD and Scott was approached to digitally restore and remaster Alien.

“In 1979, when Alien was originally released, I felt that the theatrical cut of the film was the best I could possibly make it. I was very pleased with its pace and structure, and although there were several scenes left on the cutting room floor, I didn’t miss any of them. For all intents and purposes, I felt that the original cut of Alien was perfect. I still feel that way. The traditional definition of the term “Director’s Cut” suggests the restoration of a director’s original vision, free of any creative limitations. It suggests that the filmmaker has finally overcome the interference of heavy-handed studio executives, and that the film has been restored to its original, untampered form. Such is not the case with Alien: The Director’s Cut. It’s a completely different beast. When Twentieth Century Fox approached me to digitally restore the original 1979 cut of the film, they also suggested fully restoring many of the film’s deleted scenes to be reincorporated into a proposed expanded DVD version of the film. Following an exhaustive year-long restoration process, Fox then decided to re-release ALIEN theatrically. It was their hope that I would see fit to include several of the deleted scenes we had restored in order to give moviegoers additional incentive to see the film in theaters. Upon viewing the proposed expanded version of the film, I felt that cut was simply too long and the pacing completely thrown off. After all, I cut those extra scenes out for a reason back in 1979. However, in the interest of giving the fans a new experience with Alien, I figured there had to be an appropriate middle ground. I chose to go in and recut that proposed long version into a more streamlined and polished alternate version of the film. For marketing purposes, this version is being called “The Director’s Cut”. To film purists everywhere, rest easy. The original 1979 theatrical version isn’t going anywhere. It remains my version of choice and is presented fully restored and remastered under my personal supervision alongside the new Director’s Cut in this DVD set.”
Source: DVD booklet from Alien Quadrilogy

The director’s preferred edition is: Theatrical

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of

World War Z (2013)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical (115 min.)
  • Unrated (122 min.)

Brad Pitt starred in and produced the ill fated zombie/disaster movie World War Z in 2013. The Golden Globe nominee Marc Forster directed World War Z and is said to have clashed with the A-list star on the production which resulted in the movie going through many stages of disasters. The affair was well documented by Vanity Fair in a enlighten article and it’s no secret that one third of the movie was scrapped, rewritten and then reshot. On Blu-ray viewers can choose between two versions.

”I’m very proud of the rated version and what we pulled off,” said Forster when asked by ShockTillYouDrop about the two versions. “The unrated version is my preference because it’s not just about blood and gore being added. The overall intensity is more than the rated version. You can dial it up more. That’s what I found was that the film didn’t need to be so much more gorey. The level of intensity is bigger.”


The director’s preferred edition is: Unrated

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of