Weinstein plans to cut Snowpiercer by 20 minutes


Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer has been breaking box office records in South Korea. During its opening weekend, the film made the equivalent of $21.38 million, one of the country’s biggest openings for a Korean film. Like many of you, I can’t wait to see it. Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing the same movie that’s in South Korea right now.

The Weinstein Company will reportedly cut 20 minutes from Snowpiercer for its international release because the company believes that the people in flyover country are dummies. Film critic and programmer Tony Rayns explained it like so: “TWC people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film will be understood by audiences in Iowa … and Oklahoma.” It gets worse. Here’s what Twitch reported:

[Tony Rayns] attended the July 29th Seoul premiere of the film, and after speaking with Bong, revealed that most of the cuts would come in the form of character detail, effectively turning this rich sci-fi thriller into a straightforward action film. Adding further insult to injury, voiceovers will now be added to the opening and closing of the film.

Re-cutting and altering Asian films for release is nothing new for Weinstein. As Twitch notes, they’ve previously re-cut and re-edited Princess Mononoke, Shaolin Soccer, and many films from Jackie Chan (the most ruinous changes are arguably in The Legend of Drunken Master, which is a weak shadow of Drunken Master II simply because of awful sound design). Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster will also likely be re-cut for domestic release.

How do you feel about the re-cutting of foreign films? Is there merit to the idea of altering something for market viability or should the works be allowed to remain as they are?

[via Twitch]

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.