Thelma Schoonmaker Condemns Theaters Showing ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ with an Intermission

Martin Scorsese’s longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker is criticizing theaters for adding an intermission to “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

The film, which has drummed up controversy in the Indigenous community, is almost three-and-a-half hours long. “I understand that somebody’s running it with an intermission which is not right,” Schoonmaker told The Standard UK. “That’s a violation, so I have to find out about it.”

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Schoonmaker has edited every Scorsese film since “Raging Bull” in 1980. Select theaters have shared on Twitter, including one in Fort Collins, Colorado, that screenings of “Killers of the Flower Moon” will have an eight-minute intermission. Variety also reports the European and Brazilian chain UCI Cinemas, had included a “six-minute interval towards the middle of the film,” during screenings at its 80 theaters across several countries, and that an independent cinema in Amsterdam had done the same.

IndieWire has confirmed that showing “Killers” with an intermission is a violation of the film’s Master Licensing Agreement, which states that the movie needs to be screened “without alteration or intermission, on the Screen Auditorium identified in the Booking Confirmation.” The studios this week have since intervened and informed the movie theaters to stop. In the instance of Vue Cinemas in the UK, some screenings were presented on the theater’s ticketing website including an intermission, and those have been pulled after the studios intervened.

IndieWire has reached out to Apple and Paramount for further comment.

Scorsese previously defended the long runtime of the true crime period piece, telling the Hindustan Times, “People say it’s three hours, but come on, you can sit in front of the TV and watch something for five hours. Also, there are many people who watch theater for 3.5 hours. There are real actors on stage, you can’t get up and walk around. You give it that respect. Give cinema some respect.”

He added of the theatrical release of the Apple and Paramount film, “In the case of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon,’ it should be seen on the big screen. Are we intending to make a blockbuster? No, we’re making a movie, which should [be] watched on the big screen. Other pictures I made? Maybe not. Sometimes, it’s the strength of the picture too, if it plays well on a smaller screen, that’s interesting. ‘Killers’ could play on a small screen, but in order to truly immerse yourself, you should take out the time.”

The Oscar-winning auteur additionally told IndieWire’s Anne Thompson that the fluid production process led to the elongated feature.

“I kept working on the script as we were shooting, with the actors, with the Osage,” Scorsese said. “People would say things, even friends of mine would walk around and I’d write something down. The movie was a living organism that started to keep growing. And I didn’t have the anxiety that we had, let’s say, on ‘The Departed,’ where I didn’t know if I was gonna to get it. We kept rewriting and working it. Here, I felt comfortable that what we could feel was honest.”

Scorsese continued, “Rehearsal for us is like reading it, arguing, discussing. Not even arguments or debating, it’s saying, ‘You know, that line is too much. Do you need it? Oh, you could say it. And we’re here, here and here. You don’t want to do one without it? For God’s sakes!’ We’re together. It isn’t antagonistic, we know each other for years. At times, we find that Leo is younger, and his energy goes flying. And Bob and I are older. So we wait until he calms down a bit. And then I give my opinion and Bob gives his, and I give mine from both. It deals with a lot of patience and trust.”

Additional reporting by Brian Welk

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