by Rob Boylan
Sony is re-releasing One Direction: This is Us tomorrow as an extended cut, even though the original version is still playing in theaters, and in-fact has only been playing in theaters for two weeks.
Try as I might, I can't think of another film that had an extended cut produced and released while the original cut was still playing in first run theaters.
There is the old Disney trick of claiming a one-week only screening window and then holding it over indefinitely because of "overwhelming demand", but even Disney has never, to my admittedly worsening recollection, done something as weird and cynical as this.
Usually, this is a marketing ploy kept strictly to home video sales in the shape of the infamous "unrated" cut of raunchy comedies and horror films, or the rare "director's cut" of a film. Occasionally a foreign film will play with subtitles in big cities, while the sticks get the dubbed version. Very, very occasionally a film will play with different endings in different cities, but the only film I can think of that did this was Clue, which ran in different cities with one of the three different endings that are all shown on the home video version.
The "extended fan cut" of This is Us will include four new songs over 20 minutes of new footage. I have no idea what the songs are, and couldn't pick any of the 1D kids out of a lineup at gunpoint. I know one of them is named Harry (right?), but I have no idea which one. But fans know, and judging by comment sections, they seem to be excited about seeing more of their star crushes flickering faces, while miserable, old grumps like me just see this as a pre-calculated cash grab, meant to bilk kids out of their allowance over and over again.
BUT... if, say, Nirvana had released Live! Tonight! Sold Out! as a theatrical concert film in 1993, and then went and added four new songs a few weeks later, in all likelihood, I would have been excited and gone to see it multiple times (as it was, I just wore out my VHS copy instead), allowance be damned. My mom would probably have seen it for what it was, but she also would have known that arguing in the face of a fandom (any fandom) was a silly, pointless thing to engage in, and would not have said anything. (Of course my mom also never said anything when I went through my Skidz phase in 1990, but she knew... she knew...)
Thankfully Nirvana took twenty years to go for the cash grab versions of their old albums. Thirteen year old me would be extremely upset with thirty three year old me for not waiting on line to buy the In Utero 20th Anniversary edition at midnight when it comes out on Sept 24th, but 33 year old me goes to sleep early and gets chilly at night now, and ordering it from Amazon is just so much easier.
(FYI: there is a promo code (1DMOVIE) for $5 off four or more tickets on Fandango.)