Director’s cuts are never a sure step to success, regardless of how the theatrical version was received. Putting in an extra half-hour into a film can either help or hurt it. Zack Snyder’s theatrical cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice got very poorly reception, however the “Ultimate Edition” that was released on home media brought a large wave of positivity towards the film. But there have also been others in recent years that have been given a director’s cut, just without the same results. And with 2016 being a year of unusually diverse reception for blockbusters, it’s only sensible to throw Duncan Jones’ Warcraft into the conversation.
Based on the bestselling video game, Warcraft had a very strange life during its theatrical run. While it did receive poor reviews and bomb at the domestic box office, it soared in China. Prior to its release, Jones teased that the director’s cut was substantially longer than the 123 runtime that the theatrical version holds. And since the film didn’t do well with almost anyone besides fans of World of Warcraft, an extended cut of the film doesn’t seem to crazy at this point. However, Jones himself has revealed the fate of that unseen version. He recently spoke to Thrillist during a wide-range reflection on Warcraft, where he shot down any speculation that fans may have had.
A lot of people ask me, “When is the director’s cut coming out?” There will never be a director’s cut. With a film like this, where there are so many visual effects, every concession that you make you lose those shots. They cease to exist because the effects work never gets done. Some of it’s not even at that stage. You go through a writing stage right up to the deadline of shooting the thing. [You lose] ideas in the writing process. Then sets change for whatever reason and notes come in. You’re changing things around a three-and-a-half-year process. You get these little changes which are constantly course-correcting you. So there is no possibility of there ever being a director’s cut. It’s purely in my head.
It’s sad that this version will never see the light of day, particularly since there’s probably some pretty decent unseen footage that could help to fill in some blanks. Although, the mystery that now beholds us is if Jones will be able to jumpstart a sequel or two. The biggest thing that is surely holding it back from production is the very poor U.S. box office performance. Jones has ideas as well as a lot of excitement for potential sequels, but that’s usually not enough to make things happen in Hollywood these days. For now, fans will have to do with the theatrical cut.
Warcraft will be released on Blu-ray on September 27, 2016.