Many fans have wondered how Zack Snyder could possibly cut his adaptation of Watchmen into a reasonable length for a feature film, and it seems like his director cut is over three hours in length. However, Snyder and his wife (and producer) Deborah told SCI FI Wire that the theatrical cut has now been shortened to two hours and thirty-five minutes.
Zack Snyder added "The movie's pretty long ... compared to 300, which was an hour and 58 minutes. The director's cut [of Watchmen] is about three 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."
Snyder has received a great deal of praise for his efforts to remain faithful to the original graphic novel. The comic integrates other comics and book excerpts into the narrative, and Snyder is trying to do that as well with the shooting of an animated feature based on the comic-within-a-comic, Tales of the Black Freighter. Tales of the Black Freighter has been envisioned as a separate DVD release to coincide with the theatrical release of Watchmen, but Snyder plans to eventually edit the Tales of the Black Freighter into Watchmen, probably for a special-edition home-video release.
"The Tales of the Black Freighter version of the movie that we're working on--which has the ins and outs of the Tales of the Black Freighter comic book woven through it, with an animated version of the Tales of the Black Freighter --will be about three hours and 40 minutes," Zack said. "So there's a huge epic version of Watchmen, which will probably come out after the movie's theatrical release, for hardcore [fans]."
"As you watch it, you can have this experience where it's like the graphic novel," Snyder continued. "I haven't shied away from trying to enjoy the artwork. It's been fun to make some of those pictures real."
Watchmen hits theatres on March 10, 2009. Adapted from the comic by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, the movie stars Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jackie Earle Haley, Malin Akerman, Matthew Goode, Stephen McHattie, Carla Gugino and Matt Frewer.