Unit 4 Media
agency and control
use of the media

What is the Snyder Cut?

In 2017 Warner Brothers released Justice League to average reviews and average box office returns. This was following on from Zac Snyder's Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).

At the time, Justice League was seen as a disappointment. Critics saw the film as tonally inconsistent. We also know that the production of the film was complex. Halfway through the post-production process, Snyder quit due to a family tragedy. Warner Brothers got Joss Whedon (director of The Avengers) to step in and finish the job.

The rumours are that Warner Brothers wanted to make sure the Justice League was a hit and wanted Whedon to make it closer to the tone of a Marvel film. Whedon and Warner Brothers made a bunch of changes to the script, did some reshoots and cut the film down to under two hours.

Shortly after the release of Justice League, rumours started to circulate about a 'Snyder Cut' of Justice League. This is a version of the film that Snyder had edited that was more in line with the tone of Snyder's other films and that made the film more coherent.

How the DC fandom used the media to influence WB

Once rumours started leaking about the 'Snyder Cut', the DC fandom started using the media to put pressure on Warner Brothers to release this different version of Justice League.

  • Fans started and signed a change.org petitition to release the edit, over 100,000 people signing within the first week of the petition being published.
  • Fans started using the hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut on twitter, often getting the hashtag on the trending page. Actors from the original film also started getting involved in the campaign on twitter, giving the campaign a large push.
  • Fans organised and paid for large billboards and plane banners at large scale events such as San Diego and New York Comic Con and also in Times Square and over Warner Bros. offices.

In the end, this campaign worked, with WarnerMedia announcing in May of 2020 that they will release Zack Snyder's version of Justice League on their streaming platform 'HBO Max' in 2021. The estimated cost to finish his version of the film is estimated to be $20-30 million dollars.

What does this say about the Agency of fandoms in the media?

In many ways, the Snyder Cut is a strong example of how the relationships between creators, institutions and audiences are now closer than ever before. One of the main reasons the Snyder Cut campaign was successful was the way that Snyder and actors from the film had direct access to the DC Fandom. They were able to drop hints at the existence of the Snyder Cut which stirred interest online in fans seeing the cut. The fandom's campaigns online had a direct communication line to the producer's at Warner Bros. These producers could see that there was enough interest in a Snyder Cut that it was a good financial decision to release it.

Others say that it is a dangerous example of Fan Entitlement. Demanding a different version of a film because they were unhappy with the finished product, and knowing that another version exists sets a precedent where fans may demand what they think they want, but not what they need. Fandoms may see themselves as experts, but the experts are the ones making the media products.

We have seen this a lot recently, following the backlash of the Sonic the Hedgehog trailer forcing producers to spend another 3 months changing to the design, to the fan backlash of The Last Jedi arguably forcing Disney to change it's track when making it's follow up film 'The Rise of Skywalker'. Video game producers are also forced to quickly make changes to games if fans aren't happy lest they be hit with a review bomb of their game.

Critics have also discussed the toxic fandom aspect of the DC fans. Snyder and DC fans turned into a type of tribalism where they saw any critical reception of Snyder or DC as a binary 'us vs them' fight. Snyder fans imagined that if you weren't with them, you were against them. This included the media itself, marvel fans or any journalists or critics who said anything negative about Snyder.

This lead to the Snyder fandom giving a lot of abuse online to any journalists or critics who said anything negative about Snyder about his films. Critics say that giving to the fandoms demand to release Snyder's film gives approval to this kind of behaviour.

Further Reading

Worksheets / Resources

Y12 Media Agency and Control Snyder Cut.docx181.9KB
textbook 285 - 288 - fandom.pdf1475.1KB