Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens in theaters the day after tomorrow, but the theatrical version we’ll end up seeing is almost 40 minutes shorter than Sam Raimi’s first cut, even in spite of all the movie’s extensive reshoots.
In a new interview with Collider, the director talked about his experience working on the Doctor Strange sequel and revealed how many things changed along the way. When asked to discuss the runtime of his initial cut, Raimi said:
“Well, the first cut was, I actually don’t remember the length of it. It was probably like two hours and 40 minutes, and it slowly came down even though we did the reshoots. We took out material even though the reshoots went in. So, it slowly got down to about two hours and five minutes in the total.”
That’s not to say Marvel pressured the director into doing this, by any means. In fact, Raimi himself addresses the creative freedom Marvel gave him in the same interview, calling it a “supportive” collaboration.
“They were very supportive of myself and my editors Bob Murawski and Tia Nolan driving the train. They had their notes, they had their suggestions, and they were really good because they’re a company that primarily just looks out for the integrity of their characters. So, the notes really come from a great place. It’s not about making more money for the studio. It’s about, ‘No, this is what Dr. Strange would say. No, this is what happened in the last Avengers movie and this is contrary to that.’ We have to be on the same page. Their notes come from a really great fan place.”
Reactions to the latest MCU flick have varied from extremely positive to downright critical reproval, so it’s a safe assumption that we’re dealing with a mixed bag here. As for whether those extra minutes could improve the movie’s overall narrative quality, or if the fans agree with the reviewers, to begin with, we’ll have to wait and find out for ourselves on May 6.