The traditional movie is, by nature, modular. There will be different takes from each shot or set-up, and in theory, it is usually the best of each that is woven into the final film.
In the case of the Apatow-style, improv-heavy comedy shoot, many of those takes will see the actors run completely different jokes. There have been plenty of Blu-ray special features in the last few years showing this process off, the so-called Line-o-Rama which strings together whole chains of variants.
And so it’s possible to recut such a film into a largely new version, maintaining something like the same narrative but a bunch of new gags. Adam McKay and team did this for Anchorman 2. The plan, I thought, was to release this as a home entertainment bonus.
Next Friday February 28th, though, this new version of Anchorman 2 is going to be released into cinemas across the US and UK. It’s going to run for just one week. Vive le digital cinema.
763 gags? I look forward to somebody on the internet cataloguing them all for us.
The original Anchorman had an alternative version too, the DVD bonus Wake Up Ron Burgundy, but that went much further in alternative plot lines and deleted story threads. There’s also a Spinal Tap supplement that shows how long a film Mary DiBergi could have made if he had wanted to really torture our bladders. I wonder if this could become a bit of a trend, now? I guess it might depend on the box office damage wrought by this new, rejuvenated Anchorman 2.