Zack Snyder’s Justice League has finally landed last Thursday (Mar 18) on HBO Go — all four hours and two minutes worth of superhero mayhem as Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg team up to avert an alien invasion (take that, Steppenwolf!).
But if you look closely, something’s amiss: On HBO Go, ZSJL clocks in at three hours and 52 minutes — that’s 12 minutes shorter than the advertised runtime.
What’s going on here? Is this a special truncated edition for Asia or something? But before you kick up a fuss and start a hashtag campaign demanding WarnerMedia — the owner of HBO Go — to reinstate the director’s cut, there’s a perfectly good explanation for the discrepancy.
“No cuts or edits have been made,” a WarnerMedia rep assures 8days.sg in a statement. “File formats in Asia are different from the US, which means that the total length on HBO GO in Asia is slightly shorter.”
And it’s not just in Asia. Viewers in the UK, too, are streaming the ‘shorter’ version.
The shortened duration has something to do with technology. PAL, a TV encoding system adopted in Europe and parts of Asia, runs at 25 frames per second compared to the usual 24 frames per second, the frame rate for most Hollywood movies are shown.
So when a movie is broadcast in PAL, it would play four per cent faster and its length is shortened accordingly. If you do the math, four per cent of four hours and two minutes is about 10 minutes. So there you go, mystery solved.
8days.sg saw ZSJL twice — first on a reviewer’s screener (where the runtime is 252 minutes) and again on HBO Go. We seriously can't tell if the movie has been sped up in the latter.
That said, what are missing in the HBO Go presentation are the special markers on the time stamp slider, which allow the viewers to access the six chapters directly. Without them, you just have to jump to each chapter the old-fashioned way — drag the time slider. A minor inconvenience.
Zack Snyder's Justice League premieres exclusively on HBO Go on Mar 18. If you aren’t a HBO Go subscriber, you can sign up via meWATCH for a three-month subscription for the price of two at $27.96 (UP $41.94) or a 12-month subscription at $119.98 with a free $10 Grab Food eVoucher. If you need some more persuading, try the 7-day free trial (monthly auto-renewal at $13.98 after trial ends). Promo ends Apr 15.