Mickey 17 | Bong Joon-ho’s film reportedly delayed due to a dispute over final cut

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Incredibly, Parasite director Bong Joon-ho doesn’t appear to have final cut on his latest film, Mickey 17. A new report says it’s delayed due to a dispute with Warners.

In an alternate reality, we’d already be watching Parasite director Bong Joon-ho’s latest film by now. Originally due for release in cinemas this March, sci-fi thriller Mickey 17 was instead shunted to January 2025.

Assorted reasons were proposed for the move – one was that Warner Bros wanted to avoid competing with the release of Dune: Part Two. According to reporter Daniel Richtman, however, there’s a darker reason for the delay.

According to his sources (news of which comes to us via World of Reel), Bong doesn’t have final cut written into his contract with the studio. In other words, if Warner Bros doesn’t like aspects of his film, then it can insist on making changes.

The report suggests that there’s been a ‘dispute’ between the Oscar-winning director and Warner executives, with the studio demanding that Bong turns in a more ‘accessible’ version of his film. If this report is accurate, then it might explain why the production needed an extra ten months to ready the film for release.

Based on the 2022 novel Mickey7 by Edward Ashton, the film stars Robert Pattinson as a cloned space explorer sent on a mission to a remote, icy planet. The twist is that, each time Pattinson’s Mickey Barnes dies, a new body is printed out to continue his work.

Read more: Parasite review | A flat-out must-see film

Co-starring Steven Yeun, Toni Collette, Mark Ruffalo and Naomi Ackie, among others, the film was shot and completed in December 2022. Since then, little has been seen of the film beyond a production photo and a teaser trailer, leading to rumours that Warner’s faith in it has waned (something the studio denied to Variety).

Bong Joon-ho, a meticulous genre filmmaker, has clashed with producers before over edits. The release of his allegorical 2013 sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer was delayed in the US because The Weinstein Company, which had bought its distribution rights, demanded that 25 minutes of footage be cut. Bong dug his heels in, and Snowpiercer was finally released uncut in 2014.

The overwhelming success of the 2019 thriller Parasite, which won a Palme d’Or and a Best Picture Oscar, might theoretically have given Bong the latitude to make whatever barbed sci-fi film he wanted. Here’s hoping that history repeats itself, and that the filmmaker eventually gets to release Mickey 17 in the way he intended.

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