Jackson Has His Way with Kong

Director Peter Jackson’s remake of a certain classic 1933 giant ape flick may be destined to be a blockbuster, but it’s also going to be a bladder buster. According to Daily Variety, Universal has given into Jackson’s demands to release his three-hour cut of King Kong on Dec. 14.

Originally budgeted at around $175 million, Kong was projected to run approximately two and a half hours long. Necessitating more visual effects work by Weta, the additional half hour is expected to drive the film’s production costs north of $200 million. Jackson and producing partner Fran Walsh will reportedly cover most of the $32 million overage themselves.

After the Lord of the Rings trilogy, moviegoers have come to expect long movies from Jackson, whose Return of the King kept audiences holding their bladders for nearly three and a half hours. The studio released even longer cuts as special, extended edition DVDs. But monkeying with Kong’s run time may prove foolhardy, since Merian C. Cooper’s and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s original masterpiece is considered by many to be a textbook example of action/adventure movie pacing. That version, featuring stop-motion animation effects by Willis O’Brien, clocked in at a brisk 100 minutes.