Zack Snyder's Justice League might get R-rated theatrical release
"Here's one piece of information nobody knows: The movie is insane and so epic and is probably rated R — that's one thing I think will happen, that it will be an R-rated version, for sure," Snyder tells EW. "We haven't heard from the MPAA, but that's my gut."
Asked for details about what makes the new footage explicit, Snyder reveals, "There's one scene where Batman drops an F-bomb. Cyborg is not too happy with what's going on with his life before he meets the Justice League, and he tends to speak his mind. And Steppenwolf is pretty much just hacking people in half. So [the rating would be due to] violence and profanity, probably both."
Perhaps an even bolder move than a cussing Dark Knight is Snyder pushing for Warner Bros. to release his recut and supersized HBO Max film on the big screen in 2021, at a time when parent company WarnerMedia is trying to boost its nascent streaming service with as much exclusive content as possible. To be clear, a decision on whether to release the film theatrically has not yet been made, and Warner Bros. had no comment for this story. But Snyder has previously stated that adding a big-screen rollout along with the HBO Max release is his preference and now the director suggests steps are being taken in that direction.
"I'm a huge fan and a big supporter of the cinematic experience, and we're already talking about Justice League playing theatrically at the same time it's coming to HBO Max," Snyder says. "So weirdly, it's the reverse [of the trend]."
Warner Bros. is releasing every film on its 2021 slate on HBO Max at the same time as their theatrical release, a move that's drawn considerable criticism from filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan and Judd Apatow. Where did Snyder land on this polarizing issue? "It felt like a pretty bold move and that maybe the implication wasn't 100 percent thought out," he says. "I feel like there's a lot of people panicking during COVID. I hope that, in the end, that's what this was — some sort of knee-jerk to COVID and not some sort of greater move to disrupt the theatrical experience. I thought we were kind of already getting very close to the ideal theatrical window where you still had marketing material out there and you hadn't forgotten about the film by the time it came out on DVD or streaming. I thought we were starting to hone in on that sweet spot, but this kind of throws a monkey wrench in the works."
Snyder was the original director on Justice League and then stepped down from the project. Director Joss Whedon took over the film and shot new footage for the theatrical version released in 2017, which received a negative reception from fans and critics. After a massive fan lobbying campaign to "Release the Snyder Cut," WarnerMedia decided to fund Snyder's vision to rework the film into a limited series for HBO Max at a reported cost of up to $70 million. Snyder's new footage, shot over eight days, includes scenes with the core cast, including Ben Affleck (Batman) and Ray Fisher (Cyborg).
Zack Snyder's Justice League is coming to HBO Max as a four-part event series (and, hopefully, to theaters) in 2021.