Kim and James both loved Steven Soderbergh's Che at Cannes and Kim, at least, was adamant that the film must be seen in its current four-hour form. Distributors understandably disagree, since a four-hour movie is a tough sell. Exhibitors would probably cry foul too -- intermissions are a logistical pain in the ass, and a long running time means fewer showings per day and more screens theaters must dedicate to an in-demand film. Soderbergh, for his part, seems to have conceded that an uncompromising four-hours-or-bust release might not be in the cards. His suggestion: show Che as one movie for a week in every market, and then split it in two.

That seems to me to be, uh... not thought through. So, what: you show the four-hour version for a week at regular ticket prices, and thereafter offer two halves instead? Do you show the full version and then stagger the two films' releases? Both options seem awkward, even giving the appearance that the distributor's trying to pull a fast one -- "I have to pay twice now?!"

On the other hand, I appreciate that Soderbergh is doing everything he can to make sure that the people who want to experience Che as a four-hour epic get to do so. (I'm pretty sure that Telluride and Toronto attendees will get that chance this fall.) He didn't talk about the possibility of cutting the whole thing down to a more pedestrian two-and-a-half or three-hour length, but I can't imagine he'd consider it if the option to release two films is available. The good news for everyone, of course, is that there's always the DVD.
categories Movies, Cinematical