Editor Reveals That The First Cut of ‘Batman v Superman’ Was Four Hours Long

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” opened in theatres almost a month ago and the movie ran for about two hours and 31 minutes. An R-rated “Ultimate Cut” slated to be released this year is expected to run for three hours. But according to film editor David Brenner, the first cut of “Batman v Superman” before it was edited was four hours long! That’s like the length of two separate movies already.

Brenner disclosed in an interview with Steven Hullfish from Pro Video Coalition that, like the usual process in feature films, some parts of the film had to be removed in order to come up with a more refined story. Initially, the movie had too many subplots than what was presented in the film and these paths usually focus on a single character. Everything started moving only when those solo paths converged at one point in the film – when the contents of the White Portugese ship was revealed.

The film editor also added that they had to move characters around, one of which was Lex Luthor.

“In the script, Lex was introduced much later, but we found that in watching the movie – because he’s such an important player, it was best to set him up sooner.   Plus, his presence has so much energy, a twisted comic energy that boosted the film.”

With regards to the main players, however, he shared:

“Generally, BvS was a unique challenge in that we had not one but two protagonists, each with an alter-ego. So there was Clark Kent, Superman, Bruce Wayne and Batman.”

The process of having to cut down the original length is not so different from the other movies he previously worked on. Even movies that don’t have blockbuster budgets suffered the same fate.

When asked about the difference between small and big budget films, he responded:

“In a way there is and in a way there’s not. The gigantic features may have elaborate action scenes involving a lot of footage and a lot of CG, which brings a host of editorial challenges. They frequently also have complex storylines with many interweaving characters, which the editor has to track, massage, make flow and climax.   This is exactly what the editor must do with many smaller films.”

“No matter what the budget or scale, as the editor, you’re just trying to get the story and characters to work.”

Brenner previously worked with Zack Snyder when he edited “Man of Steel” with which “Batman v Superman” is the sequel. He is also currently working on “Justice League: Part One” which will be released on the big screen this November 2017.

2 thoughts on “Editor Reveals That The First Cut of ‘Batman v Superman’ Was Four Hours Long

  1. I am the original author of the article with Brenner. It’s not really correct to say that the 4 hour length was cut down due to the length. Almost ALL feature films are significantly longer than their release length. No one would ever consider the first cut of a film to be the release cut. The film was cut down to make a watchable story regardless of length.

    1. Wow! First and foremost, thanks for your insightful comment and I’m really surprised you caught wind of my humble post. I’m just a regular Batman fan trying to share relevant news about my favorite superhero. I will make the necessary changes to my post. Your article, by the way, has been very helpful in sharing more information about the Batman v Superman movie.

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