Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer has been a real hit in South Korea, taking over $60 million and receiving a great deal of critical praise. Many film fans outside of South Korea, including this writer, are champing at the bit to see Bong's film. But we won't really be seeing his film. At least not on cinema screens.
There has been much talk about cuts to Snowpiercer since Tony Rayns first mentioned that Harvey
Scissorhands Weinstein was going to chop twenty minutes out of the film, reportedly to appease some idea that Harvey Scissorhands Weinstein has of middle America.
Since then there has been little from the Weinstein camp or from Bong Joon-ho about the cuts, apart from a few comments from Bong Joon-ho that suggested that the Weinsteins were being "soft" about the edits and that they were still negotiating the cuts.
Tilda Swinton also commented that,
There's no question that all English speaking audiences deserve to see director Bong's cut, and we hope very much that we will all see it.
Speaking at the Busan festival yesterday Bong Joon-ho confirmed that English speaking audiences won't be seeing his cut. I reiterate again, not on cinema screens – I, and many others, will simply import Bong Joon-ho's version as soon as it's available.
Bong Joon-ho spoke at the screening in Busan and was quoted by Variety, who were at the festival, and made it clear that those seeing the film in Busan were very lucky to be seeing the director's cut and that it would not be the version released by The Weinstein Company,
We are still in discussions about the cut, but it is clear that this is the only director's cut you will be able to see…
According to Variety,
…sources close to the director say that privately he is furious
I'm not surprised. I'm also not surprised that he's keeping these feelings relatively private, as any public comments could make his relationship with the Weinsteins even more difficult and potentially lead to further issues with the release of Snowpiercer.
The release of Snowpiercer by The Weinstein Company is presumably some way off, if negotiations about the cut are still underway, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if the director's cut of the film will be available to import on Blu-ray and DVD before the compromised version makes it to US, UK and Australian shores.
We will be posting news about the home entertainment release of the director's cut as soon as we have it and providing info on how to import it.