Snowpiercer

Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer opened in the director’s native South Korea last week, and will continue to roll out around the world for the next couple of months. It has broken box-office records at home and is very well-reviewed across the board. But despite having a distributor in The Weinstein Co., the film has yet to announce a U.S. opening date. Now we know what the holdup is.

The notoriously scissor-happy Harvey Weinstein reportedly has plans to chop up Snowpiercer, reducing its running time by about 20 minutes. And it’s not because the film’s bloated or unwieldy. It’s because in his opinion, according to one report, Midwesterners are too stupid to understand the movie as-is. Hit the jump for more about the edits.

IF.com (via Twitch) learned of Weinstein’s plans from 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,’” he said. The cuts will remove much of the character work to make the film play more like a traditional action movie. In addition, voiceovers will be added to the beginning and end of the film.

The original edit runs about 126 minutes, so 20 minutes represents a very significant chunk. It’s big enough to drastically change the feel or even the message of the entire film. But presumably, that’s the idea. While the movie isn’t especially long or complicated, it is apparently very dark. Does Weinstein want to give it some of that shiny, happy Hollywood gloss? Because while he’s smart enough to see how good the movie is, he doesn’t think Iowans are.

Rayns reports that the U.K., for one, isn’t interested in having Snowpiercer watered down just because Weinstein has a low opinion of his fellow countrymen. “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,” he said.

As for us stupid American hicks, I guess we’ll be stuck waiting for the DVD/Blu-ray of the director’s cut to see Bong’s dark original vision. Weinstein’s Snowpiercer is likely to hit theaters next year.

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