How a small social app played an essential role in making ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ a reality

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Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Zack Snyder on the set of “Justice League.”

  • “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” debuts on HBO Max on Thursday.
  • The social app Vero was Snyder’s platform of choice to connect with fans leading up to the movie.
  • Vero’s CEO explained how the app played an essential role in making the “Snyder Cut” a reality.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When Ayman Hariri walked onto the set of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” in 2015, he had no idea what the experience would mean for the next six years of his life.

Hariri is the founder and CEO of the social platform Vero, which played an essential role in making “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” a reality. The movie, which debuts on HBO Max on Thursday, was born out of calls from Snyder’s devoted fans to see his version on screen after the theatrical cut of “Justice League” disappointed financially and critically in 2017. Vero was Snyder’s go-to platform to connect with those fans.

But when Hariri won a role as an extra in Snyder’s “Batman v Superman” in 2015 through a charity auction, Vero hadn’t launched yet (it would launch later that year).

After meeting Snyder, though, Hariri gave him a peek at the app and the two quickly formed a close friendship (a representative for Snyder confirmed this account). After Vero launched, Zack became one of its biggest users, and his passionate fanbase followed him.

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“Zack Snyder’s Justice League”

Snyder exited “Justice League” late into production after his daughter Autumn died by suicide in March 2017. Joss Whedon was brought in for significant reshoots, which fans say altered Snyder’s original vision. Fans’ appetite for the “Snyder Cut” intensified as Snyder regularly teased behind-the-scenes images and concept art on Vero, and the “Release the Snyder Cut” movement was born.

For instance, in October 2019, Snyder confirmed on Vero that his initial plan for actor Harry Lennix’s character was for him to become the superhero Martian Manhunter. That December, he fanned the flames even more by posting an image on Vero that said “Is it real? Does it exist? Of course it does” referring to his cut of “Justice League.”

“I choose to be on Vero because it allows me an honest and real interaction with my fans,” Snyder told Insider through a representative.

Ayman Hariri vero
Ayman Hariri.

Users can choose to publish individual posts to Vero publicly, in which all of a person’s followers can see that content. They can also label connections as close friends, who can see everything, or friends and acquaintances, who see less. Hariri said that Vero also has a chronological feed rather than one based on an algorithm, which he said attracted Snyder.

Hariri said that Vero has over 5 million users. It’s a small platform compared to social giants like Facebook and Twitter. But Hariri pushed back on the notion that it’s a “niche” platform. He said it’s not being built as a niche app, but “with niches in mind.”

“I’d love to have more creators, whether filmmakers or other, come on Vero,” Hariri said. “It’s a part of how we think and the strategy of the company.”

But even if Vero caters to creators, couldn’t Snyder have just brought his audience to another platform and reached more people?

“I think there is a lot of noise on a lot of different platforms,” Hariri said. “Those would present challenges for somebody wanting to create a certain momentum … All I know is that Zack and [his wife and producing partner] Deborah both believe that Vero played a role in getting [‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’] made.”

A representative for Snyder confirmed to Insider that the filmmaker regards Vero as being essential in getting “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” off the ground.

Restoring the SnyderVerse? Not so fast

As the “Release the Snyder Cut” movement gained momentum online, “Justice League” stars began joining calls for Snyder’s movie to see the light of day.

Aquaman actor Jason Momoa was the most vocal, saying in August 2019 that he had seen the cut and that it was “sick.”

Warner Bros., the studio behind “Justice League,” repeatedly denied the movie’s existence or that a cut would be released. But in May 2020, Snyder announced after a “Man of Steel” watch party on Vero that his cut of the film would debut in 2021.

Now the four-hour movie, which Snyder assembled from footage he shot before departing the project, will premiere on HBO Max on Thursday.

“It’s very exciting to see him achieve his vision, especially after what he and his family have gone through,” Hariri said.

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Ben Affleck as Batman in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”

Hariri said he hasn’t seen the movie yet and is waiting to watch it with his kids. In the meantime, Vero is celebrating the movie’s release with a cosplay contest judged by Snyder and “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” costume designer Michael Wilkinson that runs through April 22.

But even with the release of the movie, fans are still clamoring for more.

The “#RestoretheSnyderVerse” hashtag has made the rounds on social media, referring to Snyder’s original vision that his “Justice League” be a two-part movie and lay the groundwork for the rest of the “DC Extended Universe.” “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” even ends on a cliffhanger.

But Warner Bros. and parent company WarnerMedia have moved in a different direction with its DC movie franchise, and Snyder has expressed in interviews that he won’t be involved in anymore DC movies.

“They [WarnerMedia] are 100% moving away,” Snyder told The New York Times. “They consider the theatrical cut of ‘Justice League’ as canon. That’s their decision. I wish them all the best, and I hope the whole thing is a giant blockbuster on top of blockbuster on top of blockbuster.”

Hariri isn’t sure what Vero’s involvement in any sort of continued movement would be. But as a fan, he wants to see more.

“Zack would be in charge of how he wants to move forward, but as a fan, I hope he continues because he has a vision and I’d love to see that vision continue,” Hariri said.

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How to watch ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ – the 4-hour superhero epic is an HBO Max exclusive

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“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” will be twice as long as the original cut released in 2017.

  • “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” will debut on HBO Max on March 18.
  • Nicknamed the #SnyderCut, the film overhauls the 2017 release with roughly two hours of new footage.
  • The “Snyder Cut” won’t be released in theaters, so you need HBO Max ($15 a month) to watch.

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HBO Max will premiere “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” on March 18; the result of a multi-year fan campaign to see the director’s vision of the DC Comics super team as he originally intended.

The DC Comics cinematic universe has struggled to garner the commercial success and acclaim enjoyed by Marvel movies, but Snyder’s grounded interpretations of iconic DC heroes, like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, have found a dedicated fan base. Those tireless fans lobbied for years until Warner Bros. agreed to spend $70 million to create a new cut of “Justice League” based on Snyder’s original script.

The 2017 theatrical release of “Justice League” received a lukewarm reception from critics and fans of Snyder’s prior films in the DC universe. Though Snyder was in charge for the majority of the movie’s production, a series of personal tragedies, including the death of Snyder’s daughter, forced him to leave the project before it was complete.

Warner Bros. hired “Avengers” director Joss Whedon to complete “Justice League,” leading to substantial changes to the film’s story and reshoots for new scenes. Several cast members have spoken out against Whedon’s conduct on set, with Cyborg actor Ray Fisher vowing never to work on another film handled by DC Films President Walter Hamada, who oversaw an investigation into Whedon’s conduct after the movie was released.

Despite the completion of Snyder’s cut, the director told fans it’s unlikely that we’ll see a continuation of his “Justice League” franchise. Gal Gadot reprised her role as Wonder Woman in “Wonder Woman 1984” earlier this year, and Ezra Miller is expected to begin filming “The Flash” in April 2021. Robert Pattinson’s upcoming “The Batman” will not share a connection with “Justice League,” while Ta-Nehisi Coates and J.J. Abrams are reportedly working on a new “Superman” film.

How does ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ compare to the original?

“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” features several changes to the original film, including the addition of a significant appearance from the DC villain Darkseid, and a new look for the alien antagonist Steppenwolf.

Cyborg, a hero introduced to DC films in “Justice League,” is said to play a crucial role in the revised story as well. Snyder has also revealed the appearance of Batman’s nemesis the Joker, played by Jared Leto.

Snyder says his version of “Justice League” won’t be using any of the reshoot material directed by Joss Whedon, but it will be adding tons of new footage to match his original script. Snyder’s “Justice League” will reportedly run four hours, roughly twice as long as the original. Snyder also hinted that the film could end on a cliffhanger, since he intended it to be part of a series of movies, like “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

How to watch ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ on HBO Max

“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” will debut on HBO Max on March 18. It’ll be available for unlimited viewing as part of an HBO Max subscription for $15 a month. Most HBO cable subscribers can also access HBO Max through their TV provider account at no extra cost.

You can stream HBO Max in your browser, or download the HBO Max app on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple devices, Android, Xbox, PlayStation, and many smart TVs.

HBO Max just started making movies available in 4K resolution with HDR contrast earlier this year, along with Dolby Atmos audio. It’s unclear whether “Justice League” will support those features as of yet, but you can check the list of compatible 4K devices to make sure yours is on the list.

What else is coming to HBO Max?

Beyond “Justice League,” Warner Bros. has been bringing all of its new theatrical releases to HBO Max during 2021. Other films available right now include “Tom & Jerry” and “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

The next movies scheduled for release are “Godzilla vs. Kong” on March 31 and “Mortal Kombat” on April 16. The more kid-friendly “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” starring LeBron James and the Looney Tunes, is scheduled to hit HBO Max on July 16.

We’ve also put together a full list of every upcoming Warner Bros. movie scheduled to hit theaters and HBO Max in 2021.

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HBO Max accidentally showed the long-awaited ‘Snyder Cut’ of ‘Justice League’ when people clicked on ‘Tom and Jerry’

justice league snyder cut trailer
  • HBO Max accidentally streamed the “Snyder Cut” of the “Justice League” movie early.
  • The leak, which showed an hour of the film, was accessible to users who wanted to watch “Tom and Jerry,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
  • The film is set for release on March 18.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

For several HBO Max subscribers who wanted to watch the cat and mouse fight on “Tom and Jerry,” something else entirely showed up on the streaming service’s website: the much-discussed “Snyder Cut” version of the movie “Justice League,” The Hollywood Reporter reported Monday.

The upcoming movie, which runs for four hours and is directed by Zack Snyder, was made partially available due to an “error,” HBO told The Verge – it’s not set for release until March 18.

The error was fixed quickly, according to HBO, but users were still able to get a sneak peek at the hotly-anticipated superhero movie. The Hollywood Reporter staff also was able to access the film before HBO Max realized its mistake. Some who gained access even posted snippets on TikTok.

Insider reported last year that the ‘Snyder Cut’ took on quasi-mythic status after the director left the original project and Joss Whedon took on the role of director.

Fans of Snyder thought that Whedon’s work was not in line with the original vision, and the film did not enjoy the critical or commercial success that it promised. Snyder returned to the production and promised “an entirely new thing,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In March, Insider’s Jason Guerrasio interviewed producer Deborah Snyder, who is Zack Snyder’s wife, about the process of making the ‘Snyder Cut’ after a family tragedy and accusations of misconduct by replacement director Joss Whedon complicated the project.

Whedon’s version was released in 2017 at a run time of two hours. To double that run time, the ‘Snyder Cut’ only needed to film one extra scene, according to Insider’s reporting. The bulk of the work that went in to the reconfigured production came down to 2,656 new visual effects that needed to be completed within seven months.

Snyder told Insider that working with HBO Max allowed for creative freedom. She said, “just theatrically what you’re allowed to do is different. I feel streaming affords risk-taking and character development and so many things.”

Read the original article on Business Insider