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Marathon ‘Runner’

WB preps 'final cut' of sci-fi classic

Warner homevid has disentangled “Blade Runner’s” famously thorny rights issues to pave the way for a September reissue of the remastered “Director’s Cut” version, followed by a theatrical release of a version promised to be truly Ridley Scott’s final cut.

Warner’s rights to “Blade Runner” lapsed a year ago, but the studio has since negotiated a long-term license. The pic, now considered a sci-fi classic, has had a troubled history from the start: When Scott ran overbudget, completion bond guarantors took control of it and made substantial changes before its 1982 theatrical release, adding a voiceover and happy ending. That version was replaced by the much better-received director’s cut in 1992, but Scott has long been unhappy with it, complaining that he was rushed and unable to give it proper attention.

The helmer started working on the final cut version in 2000, but that project was shelved by Warner soon after, apparently because the studio couldn’t come to terms with Jerry Perenchio over rights issues.

The restored “Director’s Cut” will debut on homevid in September, and remain on sale for four months only, after which time it will be placed on moratorium. “Blade Runner: Final Cut” will arrive in 2007 for a limited 25th anniversary theatrical run, followed by a special edition DVD with the three previous versions offered as alternate viewing: Besides the original theatrical version and director’s cut, the expanded international theatrical cut will be included. The set will also contain additional bonus materials.

The massive “Blade Runner” project comes on the heels of Scott’s four-disc treatment for “Kingdom of Heaven,” released this week by Fox homevid, less than a year after the pic’s initial homevid release.

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