While we continue to wait for a U.S. release date for Bong Joon-ho's post-apocalyptic "Snowpiercer," it's smashing records at home. It reached 1 million viewers in less than two days in release, breaking a previous record set by the director's "The Host," and becoming the first film to do so in South Korean history. And yet, while the picture seems to doing just fine overseas, Harvey Weinstein reportedly wants to make some changes before he drops it in English speaking territories.
Film critic and programmer Tony Rayns is saying that the distributor is looking to snip 20 minutes from the movie, and add voiceovers to the beginning and end of the film, before opening it in North America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand or the UK. "TWC people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film 'will be understood by audiences in Iowa ... and Oklahoma,'" Rayns claims, before taking an unnecessary swipe at American moviegoers. "Leaving aside the issue of what Weinstein thinks of its audience, it seems to say the least anomalous that the rest of the English-speaking world has to be dragged down to the presumed level of American mid-west hicks."
Dropping the hyperbole for a moment, it should be noted that the upcoming North American release of "The Grandmaster" was also snipped by 20 minutes, and in fact, Wong Kar-Wai delivered a different edit to European audiences as well. Did he feel savaged by Harvey Scissorhands? Actually no, and in this recent interview, he effectively says each cut is fine by him and suits the markets they were prepared for. However, Rayns says that the director has revealed that it will be "character detail" that gets shaved, presumably to turn the 2 hour plus movie into something of a more streamlined action flick.
While naturally, we'd prefer to see the movie as Bong Joon-ho intended, maybe let's wait to see how this all turns out before fully freaking out? Rayns says "the UK will be protesting TWC's proposed cuts" though it's unclear what that exactly means. Granted, Harvey's reputation preceeds him and this could be a mess if he truly misshapes the film that's now playing abroad, so let's see how this plays out in the coming days and weeks. [Twitch]