‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ May Take More Than $30 Million To Finish
So Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a thing that’s happening now, but it might cost a lot more than some have anticipated.
When the entire drama over Justice League first unfolded in November 2017, there were unconfirmed rumors that Warner Bros. had a finished version on the shelf that they wouldn’t release for some reason. The thing is, that wasn’t true – the movie was heavily reshot and several scenes were unfinished even though the movie was locked in-sequence. Considering that the movie lost money for the studio, they easily would have distributed an alternate cut on home video to recuperate some of those losses if the movie was indeed finished, as they did with Green Lantern (which lost a lot more money, and was a director’s cut that nobody asked for). Now that Warner Bros. have caved and are finishing the original version of the movie for HBO Max, they’re pumping money into it to complete the visual effects, with additional photography reportedly being minimal or nonexistent. It’s not said to be a lot, however, as the $20M to $30M figure that was given in the initial report will mostly be reserved for visual effects. However, there’s since been an indication that they could be spending more on the project.
Back in May, Recode Media Podcast hosted a session that featured HBO Max executive Bob Greenblatt, who laid out the fact that this project is something that will take months to complete and that’s why it won’t hit until next year. The transcript of that podcast (hat tip DCEU Mythic) provides some illuminating information on the state of the project, starting with the fact that the $30M estimate may actually be underselling how costly this project is going to be:
“It’s been months of discussions with Zack and the producers, to figure out how to do it. Because it isn’t as easy as just going into the vault, and there’s a Snyder Cut sitting there to put out. It does not exist. Zack is actually building it and it’s complex, including (and I don’t want to get into too much detail that we haven’t already talked about yet) new effects shots and it’s a radical rethinking of that movie and it’s complicated and wildly expensive. Which is of course a number I won’t quote… I’ll just say I wish it was just $30 million and stop there.”
He also stated that the logistics on figuring out how to complete an alternate cut, which is complex enough for the film to qualify as a separate production to the 2017 release, has been quite daunting. Furthermore, the announcement of Zack Snyder’s Justice League was not specifically timed for the launch of HBO Max, but it coincided with it:
“It’s an enormous undertaking and very complex. We had to go to the unions and get certain things clear with them about what we were doing. Is the Snyder Cut a new movie? Or is it a recut? There’s lots of complexity that the fan doesn’t know about. And we weren’t just sitting around going, ‘Let’s not talk to those fans for as long as we can. Let’s drive them crazy.’ We were actually spending a lot of time trying to figuring out how to do this, and there’s many, many hurdles to jump over. Once we saw that we could do it all and figured out the right economics, which was literally in the last week, we said ‘alright lets get this news out there’… We were trying very hard to be able to announce it before the launch, because we knew it would be very well received, but we started talking about it (I want to say) in last fall. Seriously.”
As it stands, there is a lot on the cutting room floor of the film, and the process of editing the incomplete shots to get things into a cohesive final product is something that will take a while. Had this movie been as close to finished as some incorrectly said that it was, then it likely would arrive a few months after HBO Max’s launch instead of needing around an additional year of post-production.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League will release on HBO Max sometime in the first half of 2021.
Grant Davis is a freelance writer who has covered entertainment news for more than four years. His articles have frequently appeared in Star Wars News Net as well as as other entertainment-related websites. As someone who grew up on Star Wars and comic book movies, he’s completely thrilled with the current era of genre entertainment.