Watchmen's Running Time Gets Shorter, But Does That Matter?

December 3, 2008


The last time we talked with Zack Snyder, he mentioned that the running time of Watchmen was expected to be around 2 hours and 43 minutes. The Dark Knight, in comparison, ran 2 hours and 32 minutes, slightly shorter. While referencing running times to judge how good or bad a movie might be is foolish, we thought it'd worth mentioning that the movie has been getting shorter, only for the sake of talking further about the Watchmen universe. In an interview with SciFi recently, Zack and his wife / producing partner Deborah Snyder revealed that the running time is now closer to 2 hours and 35 minutes.

So why does this really matter? Well, fans have been impressed by the trailers so far, so the only thing they're still hesitant about is whether the story lives up to the very extensive one found in the graphic novel. To most, that story is part of what makes it such an incredible book. Obviously to tell that complete story in the movie, it will have to be quite long, which is why a running time that long actually makes sense. But Snyder says there is more. "The director's cut [of Watchmen] is about 3 hours and 10 minutes long. It has even more than the theatrical version, as far as the detail that gets even closer to the graphic novel."

So what else is Snyder planning to fit into Watchmen? We previously explained that Snyder is planning to implement the "Tales of the Black Freighter" comic-within-a-comic story into a complete version of the movie. "The Black Freighter version of the movie that we're working on--which has the ins and outs of the Black Freighter comic book woven through it, with an animated version of the Black Freighter--will be about 3 hours and 40 minutes," Zack told SciFi. "So there's a huge epic version of Watchmen, which will probably come out after the movie's theatrical release, for hardcore [fans]." Which I'm sure there are plenty!

For me personally, I think it would be a dream come true to see this "epic version" released in theaters. That will depend entirely on the success of the regular Watchmen version - if it makes as much or more than 300, I'm sure Warner Brothers might consider re-releasing the epic version in theaters later on. "As you watch it, you can have this experience where it's like the graphic novel," Snyder said. "I haven't shied away from trying to enjoy the artwork. It's been fun to make some of those pictures real."

Find more posts: Discuss, Hype, Movie News



I think it's great that there is going to be such an extended director's cut. I love the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings and it makes them feel whole and complete, and yes, I never once get bored watching the 4 hour versions of them. If the film is made well, I would easily watch a 5 hour Watchmen movie if that's what it took to make it complete and whole.

Itri on Dec 3, 2008


The shorter the better! Movies don't need to be so long, they just get dragged out. A good example is Dark Knight. Waaaayyyyyy to long! They always try and jam pack one more thing in. Like Two-Face's whole story in 30 minutes. Keep it short and sweet!

LeftHanded on Dec 3, 2008


I'm ok with the shorter length. Call me a poor fan, but if I want the whole damn story I'll stick with the comic. Just make this a hell of a movie and leave it at that.

McChunlisonberg on Dec 3, 2008


I just saw this trailer that reminded me of Watchmen over at Youtube, but I don't know what it is? Anyone heard of this? it's called "INK" (i think).

SCOOL on Dec 3, 2008


As long as it doesn't hurt the story I have no problem with the length. But I will get DVD for the director's cut 🙂

Brooke on Dec 3, 2008


As long as the movie lives up to the hype i really don't care how long it is

dave on Dec 3, 2008


why does he keep comparing it to dark knight. compare it to pirates 3 or something. we get it dark knight was awesome we all saw it. Anyway i want to see the same movie kevin smith saw.

Darrin on Dec 3, 2008


Speaking of, did they get Ozmondias's costume from the old Batman and Robin nipple set?

L on Dec 3, 2008


Yeah, the Ozymandias costume for the movie is meant to be a parody of the Batman and Robin nipple suits. The song in the first trailer released in July is a (far better) version of a song the Smashing Pumpkins made for Batman and Robin, also. And dammit, I want to see this movie already! I don't care how long the theatrical cut is (though 2 1/2 hours seems good enough), I don't even care if it's any good (though it's likely to be pretty freakin' sweet), I just want to see the thing!

Andrew on Dec 3, 2008


The smart thing to do would be to release both versions at the same time. A shortened version will deter a lot of hardcore fans, who suffice it to be are a rather large portion of this film's potential audience. Then they can have something to attract those who have actually read the story and expect all the clever little details and key plot elements, and a shorter version for the lamebrains who don't really care about the story and all the clever inuendos that are built into the original work.

JL on Dec 3, 2008


I'd take 87 awesome minutes over 3 and a half hours of crap any day of the week. Now if Snyder can pull together 3 and a half hours that blows my tiny mind, I'll be ecstatic.

John Madden on Dec 4, 2008


Having two versions of the movie out at the same time would only confuse audiences (I know it is sad, but think about all the SKU's of the Xbox 360 and the PS3...people aren't smart). That said, it would be nice if they did that.

Itri on Dec 4, 2008


Dark Knight was way too long, some parts were totally unnecessary and made the film become boring. Watchmen should be good, the cut down version for people who don't want piles and the longer directors version for the geeks for whom that still won't be enough to feed them.

Crapola on Dec 4, 2008


@ 4...I just checked out that Ink trailer and it looks quite interesting, though I don't see how it relates to Watchmen at all. Anyways I wonder why there's no buzz for it...anyone else heard of it?

Peloquin on Dec 4, 2008


#9 I think the Smashing Pumpkins (Green Goblin's favorite rock band) had two songs which are almost the same thing, but with different tempo: "The End is the Beginning is The End" and "The Beginning is The End is The Beginning"

Luis M on Dec 4, 2008


I just love how fanboys keep calling this 'graphic novel'. just call it for what it is instead of pretending this to be some kind of timeless classic. Hope the move will be good though.

Shige on Dec 4, 2008


I just thought the Ink trailer was similar in style to the first Watchmen trailer... Only hinting at the plot, music driven. I found a website on it: I think it just went up. Really intrigued....

scool on Dec 4, 2008


TDK did not feel like 152 minutes at all. That was the fastest 152 minutes I have ever experienced in a movie.

Kaloo on Dec 4, 2008


There's totally an easier way to think about all of this -- IT DOESN'T MATTER. The DVD is gonna be 3 hours and 40 mins.

Fuelbot on Dec 4, 2008


Good point, Fuelbot. There will be a DVD a few months after the theatrical release, so there ought to be a full feature there. BTW, @16 Shige, what the hell are you talking about? Just what exactly do you think Watchmen really is? It may have originally been a 12 issue serial, but let's not split hairs. Besides, I doubt you ever read it. And nobody's pretending it's a timeless classic, but fyi, Time magazine did name it one of the 100 greatest English language novels since 1923. Not only that, but I personally have found it's a good read and worth reading at least twice.

JL on Dec 5, 2008

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