Why Zack Snyder’s Justice League Releasing As A Movie Is Riskier Than A Show

Zack Snyder’s Justice League cut will officially be released as a 4-hour movie instead of a miniseries, but this will be a big risk for his vision.

Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League will be released on HBO Max as a 4-hour movie instead of a miniseries, but this change will present a big risk for the director’s vision. After years of fan campaigning, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is finally set to be released on HBO Max to give fans of DC Comics a darker (and far longer) version of the troubled superhero team-up, which was marred and completely retooled during post-production.

The so-called “Snyder Cut” has been the source of much controversy over the intervening years, as fans mounted a massive online campaign to secure a release for the director’s version of Justice League. With a reinstated Knightmare future, an R-rating, and a return for Jared Leto’s controversial Joker, it’s clear that this new (original) version of Justice League will be a more bleak and less quippy take on the material than the Joss Whedon-directed theatrical release.

While initial reports suggested that it would be released as a 4-part miniseries, it’s since been confirmed that Snyder’s Justice League will be a movie. It’s an understandable move for the Justice League producers to make, as the Snyder Cut was, of course, intended to be a movie. However, the sheer runtime of the Justice League re-release makes it even riskier as an already tough-to-categorize project that may struggle to win over casual viewers. The movie was always going to have trouble selling itself to non-hardcore fans as an alternative edit of an already-released blockbuster, but streaming viewers are now even more likely to balk at this version’s uncompromising runtime.

The decision is not likely to have much impact on Snyder’s Justice League in terms of quality, as the movie remains the same whether split into parts or not. But how streaming viewers will react to the Snyder Cut may change. The people who have campaigned for this release will no doubt love the edit regardless, but a 4-hour Zack Snyder superhero movie (or any movie, for that matter) will be a challenging sell for more casual audiences, many of whom want something to watch in one sitting and save their viewing binges for TV series.

One comparison that has been made online is to Martin Scorsese’s lengthy gangster epic The Irishman, a Netflix release that had a runtime extend past 3 hours. This isn’t an entirely accurate comparison, as that movie was meditative gangster film where Justice League is a fast-paced superhero movie, but this may prove to be even more of a problem for the Snyder Cut. Even though The Irishman viewers went into the movie aware that it was a serious drama in the vein of The Godfather, plenty of Netflix viewers were nonetheless found the director’s movie boring due to its daunting runtime. Justice League, in contrast, is being marketed as an action-packed superhero movie, so it’s hard to imagine casual viewers will be eager to sit through a movie demanding a huge time investment where most releases in the genre run well under 3 hours. Dark as the superhero team-up is, Snyder’s Justice League is still intended to be a quick, punchy blockbuster, meaning it’s much more likely to tire out audiences even faster than the comparatively sombre The Irishman.