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Justice League: Zack Snyder gave up payment for more creative control on his preferred cut

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Feb 22, 2021, 11:17 AM EST

Zack Snyder was so committed to delivering his intended cut of Justice League, that he apparently gave up directorial payment in order to have more creative control over the project. All in all, the reshoots and re-edits cost around $70 million, bumping up the film's original price tag to almost $400 million (about the same budget as Avengers: Endgame).

“I’m not getting paid,” he recently told Vanity Fair, which recently debuted our first look at Jared Leto's return as the Joker. “I didn’t want to be beholden to anyone, and it allowed me to keep my negotiating powers with these people pretty strong."

Before Warner Bros. agreed to let Snyder revisit the 2017 crossover film last spring, the studio asked the director if he'd be open to releasing all of the existing footage he already had on his computer, including the sequences without finished VFX. The filmmaker flat-out refused, preferring that the now-famous "Snyder Cut" remain a wondrous fable among fans. If he was going to release his version of the team-up movie, Snyder explained to Vanity Fair, he was going to do it right or not at all.

“And they’re like, ‘But why? You can just put up the rough cut.’ I go, ‘Here’s why. Three reasons: One, you get the internet off your back, which is probably your main reason for wanting to do this. Two, you get to feel vindicated for making things right, I guess, on some level. And then three, you get a sh**ty version of the movie that you can point at and go, ‘See? It’s not that good anyway. So maybe I was right.’ I was like, No chance. I would rather just have the Snyder cut be a mythical unicorn for all time."

“There’s not a day that’s gone by over the last three years, I haven’t thought about this movie, that I have not sat up at night thinking, 'What if there was a world wherein this thing actually does get released?'" said Cyborg actor Ray Fisher. “I probably should have let it go. But there was so much that we left behind in this version of the film. It’s a completely different movie.”

The R-rated behemoth of four, one-hour segments that are Zack Snyder's Justice League arrives on HBO Max Thursday, March 18.