Director's cut bows at Berlin

Warner Home Video has ponied up more than $1 million for a new director’s cut of Wolfgang Petersen’s “Troy,” which will bow Saturday at the Berlin Film Festival before receiving a limited theatrical re-release in Germany on March 23.

Project, the latest in a series of homevideo do-overs for big-name directors, is the second such enterprise for Petersen, who revisited “Das Boot” 10 years ago. The director spent three months working on the new version, adding more sex and violence — and about a half hour — to a movie some already considered long at 162 minutes.

To accommodate the extra footage, he had to get SAG clearances from the actors involved.

“This is more the film I wanted it to be,” Petersen said. “It’s very violent, but that’s Homer and ‘The Iliad.’ “

The director said time constraints and ratings pressures took their toll on the original theatrical version, which was a hit overseas but considered a disappointment at the domestic B.O.

It earned $364 million in international markets and $133 million Stateside.

Recutting a film after it’s made almost half a billion, “the sword is not hanging over your head,” Petersen told Daily Variety. “You can give it more time to breathe.”

Although the homevid division is underwriting the director’s cut, there is no release date set. Petersen said he planned to record a commentary and work on additional bonus material for that release, expected sometime later in the year.

Regardless of when it bows, Petersen hopes it becomes accepted as the true “Troy,” much as his director’s cut of “Das Boot” has been. “Das Boot” was originally released on homevideo following its 1981 theatrical bow. Sony’s vid arm released the hour longer director’s cut on disc in 1997.

Meanwhile, Oliver Stone is working on a final cut of “Alexander,” due Feb. 27 from Warner homevid, and Barry Levinson revisited “The Natural” for a director’s cut due from Sony on April 3. Warner released Richard Donner’s version of “Superman II” in November, almost 30 years after the producers fired him during production of the sequel.

If all goes well with the new “Troy,” Petersen said, it could be re-released theatrically beyond Germany before its homevid bow in various territories.

“Don’t we all want a second chance?” Petersen said. “That’s what’s great about DVD.”

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