When Watchmen hits theaters on March 6, it will run about 2 hours and 37 minutes. But that will be only the first of several versions of the movie, which is envisioned for eventual home-video release on DVD and Blu-ray disc, director Zack Snyder and his wife/producer, Deborah Snyder, told reporters on Wednesday in Beverly Hills, Calif.
After the theatrical and IMAX release of the movie will come a "director's cut" home-video release, which restores scenes cut from the theatrical release and will run about 3 hours and 10 minutes, Zack Snyder said in a group interview. "There's a lot more like just connective tissue," he said.
"The 3-hour director's-cut version ... will be released actually as the first release of the DVD, probably around Comic-Con of this year [in July]," Deborah Snyder added. [Update: Zack Snyder told VH1 that if the director's cut of the movie sells well enough, it could also get a limited theatrical release in Los Angeles and New York.]
Next will come a Blu-ray release that will have a special feature in which Zack Snyder pops up in video boxes on demand during a scene to illustrate the behind-the-scenes process of making the shot. "It's like a director's commentary, but it's actually him, and there's all these, like, boxes, right?" Deborah Snyder said. "They'll play the movie, and he'll point to a scene, and then they'll deconstruct the scene on all these monitors behind him ... where you can see, you know, the green-screen version of it, or, ... if it's Dr. Manhattan, you can see some great effects."
Accompanying the March theatrical release is the DVD release of the companion animated movie Tales of the Black Freighter, an adaptation of Watchmen's comic-within-a-comic.
Finally, in the fall will come the "ultimate Watchmen cut," which will interpolate the Black Freighter into the movie, much as the graphic novel incorporates it into the book's narrative, including special scenes shot to take viewers into the animation and out of it again. That version could run as long as 3 hours and 25 minutes, Zack Snyder said. "It's pretty ginormous," he added.
"[For] that version of the movie, ... when we were up there [in Vancouver], we physically shot the ins and outs scenes at the newsstand that go into the movie," Zack Snyder said. "There's ... scenes where our characters pass the newsstand, and then we pick up action at the newsstand that gets us into ... The Black Freighter. And then ... shots where you, like, go into it, and then it comes to life, and you start following the Black Freighter story. And then come back into the movie."
And after that? Special commemorative packaging? Discs packaged with the graphic novel? "I know that they're planning a lot of things," Deborah Snyder said. "And I did see—I'll share it—I did see these, like, crazy Rorschach cases and Owl Ship cases that may come. I mean, it's kind of insane, some of the things. ... There's also some other material. There's a really great documentary that we've been working on ... that talks about vigilantism, and it talks about [real] people, ... like, it talks about Bernhard Goetz, and it talks about the Guardian Angels, and it talks about also some people that are dressing up and going out and fighting crime, like in the country, like, that's what they do. Like, one's a bounty hunter. It's pretty interesting. So there are some fun things."