NEW YORK – Good news for all the Brad Pitt fans out there – an EXTENDED CUT of 1998’s Meet Joe Black is on its way to Blu-ray. The theatrical cut of the film ran at a record-breaking 2 days, 8 hours, 54 minutes and 7 seconds but the extended edition will be much, much longer. In fact, as we went to press we still did not know the exact running time as the film is still be tinkered with in the editing room.

Director Martin Brest (Beverly Hills Cop, Midnight Run, Scent of a Woman and, erm, Gigli) explained, “When it originally came out in 1998 I wasn’t very happy with that version of the film, but we were under such pressure from the studio to meet the tight release date that we had to cut a lot of wonderful stuff out. We’re putting all that great footage that we had to lose back in now. I think fans are in for a real treat.”

Asked for specifics on what we can expect to see from the restored material, Brest answered, “Let’s just say that fans of Brad will be very happy.”

“It’s just nice to be working on something again,” he added.

Meet Joe Black was not a huge commercial success at the time as many audience members confused the film with Mighty Joe Young, which was released in the same year. However, it DID make a tidy sum, but this was mainly due to the fact that it had the teaser trailer for much-anticipated Star Wars : Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace attached to it. In fact, very often the entire audience would be full of people who had no interest in watching the film at all, only the trailer.

A New York projectionist told us:

It was crazy. The theater used to fill up with people dressed as Stormtroopers, Boba Fetts, Darth Vaders, you name it. The trailer would play, they would scream and shout and wave their lightsabers around a bit, get up and leave, leaving the place empty. There would literally be nobody left to watch the movie. So, we used to let in the next crowd, who were already lining up outside just to see the the trailer, and we’d play it for them. We used to manage about 30 screenings of the trailer a day and every cent went towards Meet Joe Black. Occasionally a girl would wander in and we’d have to actually play the movie but that was rare.

Amazingly, the theatrical cut of Meet Joe Black does not hold the record for the longest running time for a film. That particular honor belongs to Francis Ford Coppola’s Director’s Cut of The Godfather (which had a brief theatrical run in 1997) which runs an an astonishing 8 days, 3 hours, 27 minutes and 11 seconds. However, much of this running time is due to the film containing uncut baptism and wedding ceremonies, an extra hour of Sonny beating Carlo in the street and no less that 15 full recipes for various Italian dishes.

Meet Joe Black will be available on Blu-ray whenever Brest agrees to unlock the door of the edit suite. Brad Pitt is currently appearing in the zany globe-trotting zombie comedy World War Z (it WAS a comedy, right?)

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