Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What To Expect From The Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Re-Release

Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is headed back to theaters — with a little extra heft.

The flick will land on 1,000 North American screens with an extra ten minutes of footage as compared to the standard cut. The additional run time will be split across four new scenes. (via Business Insider)

It's not clear what material the additional scenes will cover, but one thing is for certain: Tarantino had a lot of options. After the film screened in a two-hour, 39-minute version at the Cannes film festival, Tarantino expressed his desire to "make it longer," and indicated that the first cut of the flick ran over four hours, with over an hour and a half of footage ending up on the cutting room floor.

It was subsequently revealed that in QT's drive to bring Once Upon a Time down to a more audience-friendly length, entire characters were cut from the film. Tim Roth (who played Jay Sebring's butler), James Marsden (who portrayed Burt Reynolds), and Dean Strong (who appeared as Dean Martin) all found their scenes excised from the flick's theatrical cut — and producer David Heyman revealed to IndieWire that many of these scenes were pure gold, including one featuring 10-year old Julia Butters, one of the movie's breakout stars.

"Quentin is adept at throwing out a great scene," Heyman said. "If [Butters' cut scene had been left] in, she'd get an Oscar nomination for that performance. But it didn't serve the film. It's all about the film rhythm, to get where it needs to be. He cut out fantastic scenes, and reshaped things that made sense of the film as a whole."

With so many "fantastic scenes" having bit the dust, it stands to reason that whatever Tarantino decides to plug back into the film will definitely be worth seeing. The re-release is doubtless part of an effort by Sony Pictures to keep Once Upon a Time fresh in the minds of Oscar voters; the film is expected to garner Best Picture and Best Director nominations at the very least, and its stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt look likely to pull noms for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively.

The movie has also proven to be a significant box office success, having raked in over $366 million dollars worldwide. Of course, it could have been nudged comfortably over the $400 million dollar mark with a Chinese release — but that isn't in the cards. The Chinese government has a slight problem with the flick, and while it's possible that Tarantino could have remedied the issue with a new edit, he isn't going to.

What not to expect: any changes to the depiction of Bruce Lee

To be clear, it has not been confirmed that China canceled its release of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood due to the (pretty serious) blowback over the movie's depiction of Bruce Lee. If there's another reason, though, we'd be hard-pressed to figure out what it could be.

We won't recap the entire drama here, but suffice to say that Tarantino wrote Lee as kind of a cocky, arrogant dude, and many who knew him — including his surviving family members — have taken issue with the portrayal. The martial arts legend's daughter Shannon even went so far as to file a formal complaint with China's National Film Administration, although again, it's not clear whether this was a factor in the decision to pull the flick from release. 

It is clear, however, that Tarantino would sooner gargle spiders than re-cut his movie to placate Chinese film authorities. He's been down that road before, with his most successful film. 2015's Django Unchained cleaned up to the tune of $425 million dollars at the worldwide box office, but before it could get any play in China, Tarantino had to agree to go back to the editing room to remove certain scenes of graphic violence and nudity. (via Variety)

That he actually did this is something of a minor miracle, and in the end, the filmmaker likely ended up wishing he hadn't bothered. Django struggled to a paltry $2.7 million dollar gross in China — so while QT can be seen as obstinate for telling the Chinese government that they can take or leave Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, his stance is actually pretty understandable.

At any rate, while we don't yet know what we'll be getting from the extended cut's extra scenes, we know what we won't be getting: any softening whatsoever of Tarantino's depiction of Lee, who is portrayed in the flick by the excellent Mike Moh (a real-life fifth-degree black belt). In fact, we can't say it would surprise us if QT slipped in a little extraneous footage which makes Lee look like even more of an arrogant jerk, just on principle.

What's that you say? Why, yes, we are suggesting that QT knows a thing or two about arrogance from first-hand experience, but he makes really excellent movies, and we love him. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is one of the year's best films, and we'll be first in line when the re-release drops on October 25.