Weinstein Thinks You Are Too Dumb For SNOWPIERCER

Once news broke that The Weinstein Company had acquired international rights to Bong Joon-ho's hotly anticipated Snowpiercer, it was perhaps inevitable that the film wouldn't make it to Western screens unscathed. It has now been revealed that Harvey Weinstein has ordered the revered Korean cineaste to cut a whopping 20 minutes from his film before it will see the light of day in North America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand or the UK.

The Sci-Fi blockbuster has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from Variety, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter and right here at Twitch, and is currently smashing box office records following its release six days ago in its native Korea (to date a record 3.76 million admissions). So why does Weinstein want to cut it?

According to film critic and programmer Tony Rayns "TWC people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film 'will be understood by audiences in Iowa ... and Oklahoma.'" Effectively, the notorious Hollywood executive believes the American mid-west is too stupid for Snowpiercer, a movie which essentially chronicles the journey of a few people at the back of a train who stage a revolt and proceed, in a straight line, towards the front.

Rayns continued, "Leaving aside the issue of what Weinstein thinks of its audience, it seems to say the least anomalous that the rest of the English-speaking world has to be dragged down to the presumed level of American mid-west hicks." The film critic attended the July 29th Seoul premiere of the film, and after speaking with Bong, revealed that most of the cuts would come in the form of character detail, effectively turning this rich Sci-Fi thriller into a straightforward action film. Adding further insult to injury, voiceovers will now be added to the opening and closing of the film.

Weinstein (or Harvey Scissorhands as he's known in some quarters) is well known for cutting and dumbing down foreign films for the US market, such as Princess Mononoke (1997) and Shaolin Soccer (2001). Snowpiercer, though 126 minutes long, doesn't have a great deal of flab which could easily be cut out. However, it is a very dark film, which may explain why the demanded cuts are so significant. If they happen where I think they will, much of what makes this film so special will be lost.

According to Rayns, the UK will be protesting TWC's proposed cuts and he hopes that Australia will follow suit. Sadly though, American audiences are likely to be presented with a substantially different version of Bong's bold and ambitious film, and will probably have to wait for an uncut "director's cut" to appear on DVD/Blu-Ray before they can see the real thing.
Around the Internet:
  • maryadams_comments

    It isn't that Harvey Weinstein thinks that we are too dumb to understand the movie. We have already had Purge Anarchy, a movie essentially about class warfare and the control of the government and the country for the benefit of the rich, which outdid the first Purge movie; and Snowpiercer is the second movie about CLASS WAREFARE. You don't want two movies in one summer telling you that the rich are evil. The peasants might revolt!

  • tommarkel

    The hell with Harvey Weinstein@!. Watch or buy the great Snowpiercer movie anyway you can to make this a hit movie. I watched it as rental on iTunes and loved it. Now have purchased it. A terrific movie and one of the best if not best of the year. Joon-ho Bong and the movie should be up for an academy awards.

  • NHBill603

    There's a better film in there with a leaner cut.
    Some films overindulge their directors.
    This is one of them.
    I don't know how many minutes need to go but there Are pacing issues.
    It's a very good film however with some fine acting especially from Swinton.
    I just don't think that tightening up the film necessarily dumbs it down.

  • BK Alley

    The sad part is, a lot of Americans ARE dumb, and can't follow anything more complex than Twilight.

  • actionjksn

    I just watched the uncut version of it. I'm still trying to figure out what 20 minutes this asshole Weinstein could have cut out without fucking up the whole movie.

  • Junglist

    I'd imagine it's every second axe chop.

  • Asashii

    I will download the original 126 minute version, and get the eng subs for the Korean parts from a sub title website, I wont miss the full movie, will you ???

  • Jaives

    Just came back from watching it. Wow really? Sucks to be in the US then. That and your healthcare. Otherwise, awesome film.

  • Yoda

    Gonna watch the film. I am. Yeessss

  • David

    Of course it has to be dumbed-down for American audiences and their nanosecond long attention spans.

    Thinking is too difficult for a lot of folks in America. Many need "extra-help".

  • Eric Mead

    so in other words, the weinsteins are promoting the US and other countries to use sites like piratebay in order to get the version that ISNT theirs!!!!

  • Rhythm-X

    It's like they don't understand that people will be able to download the uncut version of the film in full quality for free - probably before the Weinsteins have even set a release date for their dumbed down version that nobody wants. People can argue about the morality of piracy all day, or declare it a subject whose overwhelming wrongness is not up for debate... but what matters is that it happens, a lot, and that's not changing anytime soon. It seems to me like it would be prudent for a distributor to not do anything to make that option more attractive to people than it already is. But since when have the Weinsteins been prudent about this sort of shit?

  • Kieran

    Come on, we are not in the seventies anymore. Why do they even bother to buy the film if they don't want it like that ?

    And they still wonder why people download movie rather than go to a theatre or buying a dvd/BR ...

  • Hayun

    I saw this movie recently in Korea, and I just can't imagine where they would cut out 20 minutes and not mangle this masterpiece....

  • truth

    I can't believe that I get to watch a dumb down version of Snowpiercer. Not fair!!! Dang it.

  • muckerman

    Anyone think there is a chance people in L.A. will be lucky enough to get the original cut at CGV cinemas?

  • Pierce Conran

    Like Todd says, no chance. CGV LA (in addition to the handful of AMCs the company seems to have a deal with) only plays CJ Entertainment films that haven't sold to the US. The ONLY cut you'll see in the states in the Weinstein one, at least until it hits the home market, at which point it may or may not be available in different versions.

  • Absolutely not. the Weinstein Company own all rights in North America and they didn't pay big dollars for them to have someone else cut into their market share. This will never, ever happen.

  • muckerman

    Makes sense, was just holding on to some false hope. Guess I'll be buying the Korean blu ray if and when it is released, as I did with the Grandmaster HK Blu ray.

  • Kwangho

    I watched it last weekend in Korea. It's a great movie.
    However I cannot imagine the film be the same after 20 minutes cut.
    Sorry...

  • Kira

    Probably because the US has debates like "is Global Warming real"... Sigh. Not to mention 46% Americans believe In Creationism... SO...

  • Sean M

    I am an American living in Korea, and I just saw this movie earlier tonight. It was brilliant; hands down, the best movie of 2013. This news absolutely makes my blood boil since I was eager to have my friends back home watch it. Not ONE minute of this movie should be cut, nor does it need any voiceovers. I highly recommend that everyone download the Korean version or wait for the Director's Cut DVD to be released.

  • rachel

    Wow... How can Weinstein say that? I think this is another racism. Don't insult American movie fans.
    I'm a Korean so I watched already Snowpiercer that is so amazing. Don't ruin the movie.

  • Tom

    Weinstein does not want this film to be successful
    do you really believe hollywood mafia would let foreign studio produced sci-fi blockbuster become a hit in US market?

    They just want recoop initial investment and couple more but not more

    We americans can always enjoy endless superhero movies
    Superman batman ratman rabbitman wahtever

  • cinesimonj

    Why would you need superhero movies, when you can entertain yourself with bizarre, ignorant and childish conspiracy theories like this?

  • john

    I think you're on to something here...

  • That's a ridiculous statement. You don't spend millions of dollars to acquire something because you want it to fail. They're making a ridiculous assessment of what it will take to maximize their return on their investment, yes, but the goal is ALWAYS to maximize return and make the most money possible. There is no agenda here beyond Harvey and co trying to make the most money possible.

  • john

    I really don't think it's a ridiculous statement. If you dig real deep into who controls what, things that seem preposterous suddenly makes a lot sense.

  • cinesimonj

    You're not too familiar with how the Weinstein's make and have made their fortunes, have you?
    Therefore, it's a conspiracy.

  • Tom

    exactly.
    Making money out of one movie is not important compared to keeping the market structure.

    It's just a speculation of course.

  • Market structure? Take a look at the movies Bob and Harvey have released and made their money on over the years. Their 'market structure' is based VERY strongly on bringing international indies to the US, and has been from the beginning days at Miramax. These guys have brought more international films to the US than anybody else over recent decades. Nobody else is even close. Their cutting policies are irritating as all hell but their business model is based entirely on these films being successful in North America.

    It's a completely and utterly ridiculous statement, John, on every level. But really ... go ahead and 'dig deep' and tell us who's really controlling things. Have the illuminati taken an interest in foreign film production?

  • john

    Like Tom says, it's speculation of course. But this is completely different than a few indie productions. We're talking about a big budget(relatively speaking) foreign production with an English speaking cast that has the potential to be a blockbuster in the U.S. I don't know anything about a 'illuminati' but certainly, pressure can be exerted to shut down or kill a project if it is seen as a threat to market share and control of who gets to see what.

  • cinesimonj

    You really ought to make the effort to understand what it is the Weinsteins have been making money on ever since they essentially opened up the foreign market to America in the early 1990s.
    You might then come to regard such bizarre conspiracy theorizing as the laughable nonsense it surely is.

  • You've just described The King's Speech.

  • DiamondInTheDust

    i wonder WTC has any rights to randomly edit the movies as they like it. I mean,,, after all WTC is just a distributor, who has to deliver the products to the enduser AS IT IS, unless they'd participated as a producer.

  • You are fundamentally wrong about how acquisition / distribution works. Once they acquire the title they have the right to do whatever they want to it for the duration of their license in their territory unless there are specific restrictions placed upon them (i.e. no cuts) in the contract when they initially acquire the title. If there's not a no cut clause in the contract then they are free to do whatever they want and if the clause isn't there it's because someone at CJ opted not to push for it or decided that the risk of the film being cut (and EVERYBODY internationally is very well aware of the Weinstein's past behavior in this regard) didn't out weight the money they were being paid for it. CJ is as involved in this transaction every bit as much as TWC.

  • The Incredible Mr Pricklepants

    Bong Joon-ho should tell Harvey Weinstein to go fuck himself.

  • bookofmatchesmedia

    Barf. Was looking forward to this. Mother was a trip. I guess we will just have to wait for video release to see the film as it was intended to be seen.

  • Curtis

    Dear people of tail section,
    I saw this movie yesterday.
    Don't let Harvey Weinstein invaded your rights to enjoy the Snowpiercer.

    Rush like Curtis!

    quote to Doobie dave
    Weinstein Co. is on twitter....tweet the hell out of them( but be respectful) and maybe it will make a difference.

  • Sue

    I'm just shaking my head right now. I'm a native-born Iowan, and I'm currently residing here in Seoul, Korea. I've seen this film. It's a terrific film, and it's terrific precisely because it asks profound questions about the nature of humanity. Cutting out the dialogue and character development that makes this film rise above the typical action-driven Hollywood pulp would be a travesty.

  • gomugomu

    they have a facebook page, leave a nasty comment or two. :-x

  • Heijoshin

    I signed the ipetition that was linked. Here is what I wrote in the comment box.

    "Stop editing art!!! Censorship is not acceptable, especially not for the reasons that have been given. If I had it my way Harvey Weinstein and any company that he is affiliated with currently or in future would never be allowed to purchase the rights to any film. I have seen too many films that have been ruined by tweaking and cutting for the sake of perceived marketability or understanding of the international audience. I implore the people involved in this process to stop. At the very least I would demand that any DVD and Blu-ray release contain both the international cut as well as the original cut, preserved in an unaltered format both visually as well as audibly in every way (including sound effects and music) with actuate subtitles that translate what is actually being spoken by the actors. This would not just be for this film only but for all releases including the Weinstein owned back catalog. That would be the only way to even begin to make up for the travesties against art that have been made for the sake of Harvey Weistein's opinion."

    I figure that HW won't be reading that comment or even care if he did so I thought I'd at least post it here so at least someone who cared would be able to read it.

  • crazyXcrazy

    Fucking useless thick americans again. fucking bunch of uneducated twats ruining the world for the rest of us.

    Harvey you fat fucking piece of shit, find a new hobby.

  • Have a great day

    Just watched the movie.. OMG... Totally speechless..

    This movie's about our society and what's happening in this world currently

    Also this movie involves every individual that are on this earth

    I have so much to say about this film .. And leaves u with so much more than the film.. My hear was actually aching

    Would recommend

  • Kkyl

    as a person who already watched the film in S.Korea, (btw movie is fucking awesome and i don't understand how you can cut anything out of this, it's already kinda shorter than what it could have been)
    I think he will cut out all the 'bloody scenes' and 'bad words' then release it as PG13. It's rated PG15 in Korea since the english cursing is not considered as profanity in this country, and i tell you, there are shit loads of cunts and fucks.
    Bong-Joon Ho did an interview saying that the Weinstein really wanted him to cut off one of gore part so.. yeah, no blood for US? for the sake of mid-west children, I guess.

  • guest

    and the fact that the fight scenes are done by the martial art director of Eastern Promise doesn't help..

  • Passing through

    1. Nothing was edited from Princess Mononoke, and while the dub wasn't great (most dubs are mediocre at best) it was not dumbed down (a bogus, baseless term anyway). Perhaps you mean the Jet Li film Hero.
    2. I was very interested in seeing this film, but thanks to Mr. Scissorhands I will not.
    3. The butchered version will not play well in the mid-west. I suspect it will not be a hit in the US regardless of which version gets released (as intriguing and original as it looks, it also looks too grim for mainstream America).

  • John Doe

    Yes, people are really too dumb but for a different reason. They totally don't know this is an effort by Hollywood to kill off competition from overseas.

  • john

    I would say that 99.9% of the people don't know how right you are!

  • I would say you don't have the first damn clue what the actual economics of the industry really are. Not liking The Weinstein's business practices doesn't make the grounds of some grand conspiracy. This is baseless stupidity, particularly given that it's being leveled at people who - irritating policies notwithstanding - have focused the core of their business for DECADES on bringing independent, international films to the US.

    They're a private company, backed by private investors who demand a return on their money. I hate this decision, but the reality is that it was made because the Weinstein's believe it is the best business decision and will maximize their return. And what the hardcore (very much minority) fanbase should be more concerned about is the simple fact that they're probably right.

  • Jason Murphy

    Man, I've been waiting & waiting for this film.

    So if Harvey wants to cut for his US people, so why should we in Australia, Canada, NZ & South Africa suffer from his patronising attitude. Roadshow grow some balls & protest. The backlash against Sony releasing Evil Dead into '1 cinema per state' was met with howls of derision & they finally relented.

    Isn't this just censorship on the director's vision? What a fucknut.

  • Right. Meo Meo's banned. Anyone care to join him? When multiple staff writers tell you to move along and get on topic rather than cluttering the place up with pointless crap, it's generally a good idea to do so.

  • Pa Kent Says Maybe

    Well, have you ever been to Oklahoma?
    As long as they don't edit THOR 2, Oklahoma's gonna be good.

  • Martin Wagner

    So the only US filmgoers who were looking forward to seeing this have now been alienated from it, and the Joe Sixpack simpletons Harvey is trying to attract, who weren't going to see it anyway, still aren't. Good job, Harv.

    Does anyone have any evidence that Harvey Weinstein has ever cared about movies as movies, in his whole life? Wasn't the whole business model when he ran Miramax to pay too much for indie movies at Sundance, and then release them on 2 screens (or not at all), so they would be write-downs at tax time? Why filmmakers don't run screaming at the mere mention of the Weinstein name is a mystery to me.

  • cinesimonj

    Evidence, you ask?
    Oh, I don't know: what he's done for the non-English language film industry, perhaps?
    Or is that too much of an ask to consider?

  • David

    Snowpiercer French Trailer

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f...

  • Brice

    In principle, it does make economic sense to cut down an elaborated film into a pure action sci-fi for the American audience which in majority tends to be reluctant to embrace foreign films. The success of Crouching Tigger, Hidden Dragon in the U.S. was due to its heavy focus on kung-fu. However, it is not fair that audiences more used to foreign-language cinema such as in the UK and Australia have to receive the same treatment. Rejection is unlikely in the U.S., but I hope that Canadian, Australian, British, South African and Neo-Zealand film fans will write a petition to keep the original for their country. I personally think the U.S. version might also be used in China, as the Chinese audience tends to react similarly to big action films (see the recent performance of Transformers 3, Iron Man 3 and Pacific Rim now)... let's see how other distributors proceed.

  • Yi-Long

    Nothing new for Weinstein: He's been butchering and raping asian cinema for more than 20 years already. Completely ruining them, and making the uncut versions completely unavailable for anyone interested in them, by buying up the worldwide rights in many cases.

    Why filmmakers still want to sell their movies to a guy who will completely cut them up, is beyond me.

    Anyone interested in the movie should either import an uncut version, or download it.

    Don't pay Weinstein a dime for his incomplete and butchered scammy releases!

  • wushuliu

    Yeah, how is anyone surprised by this. I stopped buying Weinstein imported asian films YEARS ago.

  • Dad

    Wow, I was really looking forward to seeing this. Thanks, Harv and Bob, you vulgar pricks.

  • Martin Wagner

    Can we get the Grim Reaper to swap us back James Gandolfini for Harvey Weinstein?

  • muckerman

    Seriously, what the heck is wrong with this guy? I think the main focus should be on marketing. If you can't get people in the theater to watch the film, what's the point? The main problem with having success in releasing Asian films stateside is marketing. People that wouldn't normally see this film or are "too dumb" to understand it aren't suddenly going to buy a ticket because it has been cut down. I'm assuming they'll be cutting down some scenes that would involve subtitles? If so, was that a problem with The Wolverine? Not to mention, word of mouth is not going to be any better because you've cut the heart out of the film... See Red Cliff.

  • DoobieDave

    If this movie is already out of the red on its Korean box office alone, why not just tell Harvey and Co. to fuck off? Release it in the US on their own in a very limited release. The ironic part is he wants to appeal to middle America, but they aren't going to go see this movie anyway. What redneck is going to see a movie by a guy named Bong Joon Ho? Miyazaki told American studios to fuck off if they were going continue to cut his movies up, and his movies do just fine over here.

  • hutch

    Me. I mean hell the guy's got Bong and Ho in his name. Awesomest stage name ever. All the important things in life.

  • Martin Wagner

    I'll be protesting by grabbing the import blu-ray from YesAsia.com. I already did this with Wu Xia (which is not called Dragon in any proper universe).

  • go

    not surprised, writers in the US go thru this crap everyday.

  • Roberto Rodriguez Meza

    I think we need an editorial written by the editors at this site comenting about this huge blow.
    To me personally this is tragic, since its becoming more and more common fo the distributors such as these Weinstein fellows to cut and manipulate for their own purpuses.

  • Art Vandelay

    This is just plain disappointing. And editing 20 whopping minutes is time-consuming in of itself, so really, we're waiting longer for a shorter cut of what is already, a critically-acclaimed film. I'm literally typing this message with one hand, and facepalming with the other.

  • hutch

    They probably edited Song Kang-ho out of the whole film. From what I've been told by directors is that they use they EXACT same excuse every time to force the fillmmakers to change ethnic characters into white ones, because they need to concern themselves with what "little Timmy in Oklahoma will be able to understand." As if mid-westerners couldn't grasp anything other than white leads and stories. Wankers.

  • Tanya

    This is really insulting and upsetting. I've been waiting for this movie for so long. I want to see it on the big screen with the detail that director, writers, and actors intended. Seriously considering writing a letter to give them a piece of my mind. (I know that's like attacking a Goliath with a tooth pick, but I'll try.)

  • De

    I'm wondering whether if anyone is interested in making a petition against Harvey Weinstein's decision? If you have an experience with petitions, tips would be extremely helpful. Thanks

  • Go

    What the f...?

    Ruin this masterpiece for the money??

    You better send e-mail or something to the Weinstein Company
    If you want to enjoi this film perfectly,,,,

  • Harvey Weinstein

    you dumb assholes wanna know why im doing this because i can
    you bunch of republican slackjaw yokels you couldnt pour piss from a boot if the instructions where on the heel go ahead torrent this shit i dare you bunch of pussies in fact im going cut out another 20 minutes especialy the scenes with the japanese actor song and add lots tits to the marketing yeah and create a new poster with scantly clad vunerable chinese chick on a snowy peak
    yeah dont fucking test me ill cut this down 70 minutes
    now if you excuse me im gonna do a line line of this skanky hoes tits

  • Asashii

    AAWWWW, did some one frighten the little liberal weak Biyoch with a dodge ball or show you a picture of kids playing freeze tag, did you want to hang out in the little girls bathroom in a women's dress even though you are not a women and some one said no, poor little girl !!!!

  • Mr. Anthony P. Rubino Jr.

    You conservative idiot (redundant). Take that time you spent going to a really weird place and apply it to re-reading the post.

  • this is effin bullshit. I actually want to write an open letter and think we should start a petition. the people who would end up seeing this in the Midwest are certainly not dumb. It's an "indie" and the people that see these "indies" aren't stupid. gahhh im so pissed off right now

  • I think and hope viewers will wait for the Korean release in DVD and Blu-Ray. Korean films do mostly come with good English subtitles in the Korean versions, so I really don't see why anyone who really wants to watch the movie as intended would buy a butchered version. So I do hope people will read about this and know what will be peddled to them will not be the real thing.

  • Eastern Yoo

    WE NEED TO PROTEST! PETITION!!!!!

  • DoobieDave

    Weinstein Co. is on twitter....tweet the hell out of them( but be respectful) and maybe it will make a difference.

  • ソ-サンフン

    isn't there another distributor? 20 minutes cutting is...bull shit. this film's running time is 125 minutes, and it is not too long.

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