Kingsman: The Golden Circle is quite long, with a running time greater than that of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and It. But the original cut of the film was originally even longer.
Director Matthew Vaughn told Collider this week that his first cut of The Golden Circle was 3 hours and 40 minutes. This was not an assembly edit but rather an actual version of the film that could have been released in theaters and that he thought was “highly watchable.” The existing theatrical version is 2 hours and 21 minutes.
Vaughn explained that he really got out of hand making The Golden Circle, putting absolutely all of his ideas into the sequel and then needing to cut an entire movie’s worth of footage.
“I was thinking, ‘How much money have I wasted, and time, cutting that much material,'” Vaughn said. “That was the problem about being a sequel, as well. I lost my discipline, where you’re with a bunch of friends and you go, ‘Oh, that’s a good idea.’ And it was a good idea, but everything just got longer and longer and longer.”
Sometimes movies will have extremely long cuts early in production, but usually this is just because the director is assembling absolutely all of the usable footage in order and hasn’t yet trimmed things down. That’s not the case here; Vaughn actually had a completed version of The Golden Circle edited and ready to be screened, and it was longer than The Godfather: Part II.
Vaughn also told Collider that it got to the point that the studio actually considered splitting the movie into two, releasing The Golden Circle: Part 1 and The Golden Circle: Part 2. But he shut down that idea. As a result, he had to cut a lot of material that he really loves, and he says he might put together a director’s cut.
“Some of the stuff we cut out is so good, as well, that I was very sad,” he said. “Normally, when I edit, stuff that’s not good enough just gets cut out, and it’s pretty quick to get down to a manageable length, because it’s like, ‘Yeah, that doesn’t really work.’ This time, it was like, ‘That really works.'”
Vaughn concluded by saying that when people see the potential director’s cut of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, they might argue about which one is better and say that he made the wrong choices by cutting out certain scenes.
Still, it’s a good thing Vaughn was able to get Kingsman: The Golden Circle down to 2 hours and 21 minutes, as already one of the most common complaints among critics is that the movie is too long. Todd McCarthy writes for The Hollywood Reporter, “When does a good thing become too much of a good thing? When is enough enough? That’s the main question hovering over Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the spirited continuation of Matthew Vaughn’s disarmingly clever 2015 introduction of the bespoke-suited British secret agent that, as with many successful series before it, has already begun to err on the side of overkill with an unnecessarily long 141 minutes.” Needless to say, not splitting the film up into two was probably a wise move.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is not the only movie to come out this month that has a longer director’s cut in store. Director Andy Muschietti recently revealed that It will be receiving a director’s cut on the upcoming blu-ray release. But that version is only expected to be about 15 minutes longer, and needless to say, it’s quite uncommon for a director’s cut to be 79 minutes longer than the theatrical release as is the case with Kingsman: The Golden Circle.