Justice League's Surprisingly Short Running Time Was Ordered By Studio Head
Every DC movie so far has been well over two hours in length, and in the case of the extended cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a full three hours. Considering that the upcoming Justice League features five of DCs biggest heroes, it was expected that the movie would have a similar running time. So many fans were surprised when it was confirmed that it is just 119 minutes, making it the shortest film in the DC cinematic universe so far.
It has now been reported that the reduced running time was ordered by Warner CEO Kevin Tsujihara, as opposed to a decision of the filmmakers. According to the Wall Street Journal, Tsujihara issued a "mandate" that Justice League come in under two hours, as a reaction to what was felt to be the overly extended running time of Batman v Superman.
The site also states that the studio was actively seeking a film that was lighter in tone than Batman v Superman or 2014's Man of Steel. When original director Zack Snyder delivered a first cut of the movie earlier in the year, it was "felt [Snyder] had made progress with the lighter elements." However, Warner wanted to go further and brought in Avengers director Joss Whedon to write new scenes for the movie's reshoots.
Whedon took over directing the reshoots when Snyder stepped away from the production in January, following a family tragedy. In August, actor Joe Morton, who plays who plays Dr. Silas Stone in the movie, confirmed that the reshoots were designed to lighten the film's tone.
In a recent interview, Batman actor Ben Affleck addressed the issue of how much influence Whedon ultimately had over the film. "The movie is Zack's DNA," he said. "The cast of the movie, the design of the movie--there's something that people who don't actually work on movies don't understand, which is how much of the work is done in prep--the casting, the sets get built, the story is written. The ship is, in essence, sailing. I found as a director you can maybe change 10%, 15% or something, on the day.
"Zack's ship set sail with us, and we were fortunate that when Zack was not able to continue, we got really lucky in that we got a guy who is very accomplished in his own right, and particularly in this genre, and he kind of sprinkled some of his fairy dust on our movie and finished it."
"I don't think there's any way to go back, to me, and look at those scenes and go, 'That's a Joss scene, that's a Zack scene,'" Affleck continued. "It was more that they were both working together toward a common goal. Debbie [Snyder, who produced the movie] would know better than I would, certainly, but I got the sense that Joss was working from what he had discussed with Zack before he stepped in."
Justice League hits theaters on November 17. For more, read our full Justice League review.