Justice League's short runtime was an order from the top

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Mar 26, 2021, 3:00 PM EDT (Updated)

We found out a couple of weeks ago that the long-awaited Justice League will be the shortest DCEU film of them all, clocking in at 121 minutes. A new article today from the Wall Street Journal is shining some light on why that's that case.

The directive seems to have come directly from Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara. After Geoff Johns and Jon Berg were made the overseers of the DCEU, they were told that their mission was to make the new film "less serious and more hopeful." The article goes on to state, "Mr. Tsujihara also made clear he wanted Justice League to be under two hours.“

To put that in perspective, the now infamous (and Martha-tastic) Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice had an initial runtime of 151 minutes.

The article goes on to say that a major hurdle in creating the film was merging the original material shot by Zach Snyder (who had to leave the film mid production), with material shot by his fill-in director, Joss Whedon. Apparently test audiences responded better to a streamlined version, and really loved Ezra Miller as The Flash.

There is no question that BvS was packed to the brim with material -- too much for some vocal fans. Perhaps a leaner, zippier Justice League will have artistic merit, but on the other hand, at 141 minutes, Wonder Woman ran well over 121 minutes, and that film can safely be considered a success in every way. And the original superhero team-up film, Marvel's The Avengers, also clocks in at 141 minutes, which further proves audiences will sit for as long as they need to if the film is good enough.

Still, a "get them in, get them out, get their money" approach could get results, don't you think? And besides, if you do find yourself craving a longer, more epic version of the movie, it's a very, very safe bet that we'll see a "special extended Blu-ray" release of some sort.