He was never going to sell us short was he? Of course he wasn’t. Chin-scratching ruminations over whether Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong would clock in at a respectable time have been quashed with the announcement that the bearded Kiwi has handed over three hours worth of ape epic to Universal.
“This is a three-hour feast of an event,” said Universal Pictures vice-chairman Marc Shmuger, after jetting out to New Zealand with the studio’s top brass to view Jackson’s version. “I’ve never come close to seeing an artist working at this level.”
But stretching the running time to Lord Of The Rings-style lengths – beyond the originally planned two-and-a-half hour version, and almost twice as long as the 100-minute 1933 original – means extra effects work is needed. In fact, $32 million worth, which Jackson and wife Fran Walsh are stumping up out of their own pocket, and which will push the final price tag up to a whopping $207 million.
“Peter and Fran love the movie so much they’re paying for it,” gushes Jackson’s manager Ken Kamins.
With Kong now joining Titanic and Superman Returns in the $200 million club, Universal chairperson Stacey Snider is buzzing with the outcome, “This is a masterpiece. I can’t wait to unveil it.”
Total Film can’t wait to see it. Still seven weeks to go, though… How about you send a copy over to Total Film Towers, Stacey, hmm?