WB has learned to eat a lot of humble pie since fumbling the theatrical cut of Justice League. The higher up at the studio (which have since been fired) tampered with both Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad trying to shove in a Marvel-lite influence into director Zack Snyder’s dark and brooding take on the characters. Whether you liked Snyder’s take or not, WB should have allowed his vision to play out. Instead, they fired Snyder, hired Avengers director Joss Whedon, and what we got was a total turd of a film featuring DC Comics Crown Jewels together on the big screen for the first time.
The film bombed, studio heads were fired, accusations of a toxic work environment raised and finally, a complete walk back to Zack Snyder. Back to his vision, back to the Snyder Cut.
Per Indie Wire:
The resulting “Justice League” theatrical cut was a critical and commercial failure for Warner Bros. Speaking anonymously to Vanity Fair, one studio executive said everyone at Warner Bros. knew Whedon’s “Justice League” was a bomb.
“When we got to see what Joss actually did, it was stupefying,” the Warner Bros. executive said. “Everyone knew it. It was so awkward because nobody wanted to admit what a piece of shit it was.”
Even before Snyder walked away from “Justice League,” the director was forced to battle Warner Bros. for creative control of the project. The studio dispatched DC Entertainment creative chief Geoff Johns and Warner Bros. co-production head Jon Berg to the production, where one of them would need to be on set every day monitoring Snyder and making sure the film wasn’t becoming too dark for Warner Bros.’ liking.
“You could say babysit,” Snyder said to Vanity Fair about Johns and Berg’s role on the film. “It didn’t bother me too much because they weren’t that threatening. I just felt the ideas they did have, where they were trying to inject humor and stuff like that, it wasn’t anything that was too outrageous.”
“How am I supposed to introduce six characters and an alien with potential for world domination in two hours?” Snyder said. “I mean, I can do it, it can be done. Clearly it was done. But I didn’t see it.”
To this day, Snyder has never seen Whedon’s “Justice League cut. Deborah Snyder, Snyder’s producing partner and wife, saw a private screening of Whedon’s cut before the film’s release and advised Zack to stay away from Whedon’s version. Deborah told Vanity Fair, ““It was just…it’s a weird experience. I don’t know how many people have that experience. You’ve worked on something for a long time, and then you leave, and then you see what happened to it.”
Deborah Snyder watched Whedon’s “Justice League” cut with Christopher Nolan, Warner Bros.’ “Dark Knight” trilogy director and one of the executive producers of Snyder’s DC films. After the screening, Nolan and Deborah went to Zack with a clear message.
“They came and they just said, ‘You can never see that movie,’” Zack Snyder said.
Damn. That’s harsh.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is set to be released on March 18, 2021 on HBO Max.