Friday, October 28, 2005

King Kong Clocks in at Three Hours


The New York Times reports that Peter Jackson's King Kong is substantially longer than Universal Pictures had anticipated and the extra length (mostly due to the special effects) has helped increase the budget by a third, to $207 million. The studio paid Jackson and Fran Walsh $20 million to create the film.

Universal executives got to see a version of the film in late September in New Zealand and now with seven weeks to go, they have agreed to release King Kong at a length of three hours. Each of the three Lord of the Rings films had a length around the same time.

"This is a three-hour feast of an event," said Marc Shmuger, vice chairman of Universal Pictures, who described the film as a tragic love story between the ape and Naomi Watts, who plays Ann Darrow, an actress. "I've never come close to seeing an artist working at this level."

"I anticipated it would be long, but not this long," added Universal chairwoman, Stacey Snider. As recently as late September, she expected about two hours and 40 minutes, she said. But on Wednesday she expressed delight with the picture she's got: "This is a masterpiece. I can't wait to unveil it."