You know that Slender Man movie that had been in the works? Sony actually released it in theaters last weekend. Nobody would blame you if you didn’t notice. The studio ended up not getting behind the project and, due to some serious behind the scenes drama, they just sort of dumped it and are moving on. What is perhaps the most interesting element to the drama leading up to its release is that the studio actually cut several major scenes and heavily edited down Slender Man before its release. Essentially, they released an incomplete movie in theaters.
This was a major “cut your losses” kind of move. Before digging into what was cut, per some anonymous insiders, let’s discuss what led to this decision by Sony and Screen Gems. Initially, the script for Slender Man, written by David Birke, was much darker. The studio insisted on a PG-13 rating. That’s not inherently an issue, as they were apparently always going to be aiming this at younger folks anyway. Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard) was hired to direct and The Conjuring standout Joey King was set to star. Even with the PG-13 rating, things were looking good.
Ultimately, the studio got scared of backlash that may come as a result of Slender Man. There was the much-publicized incident where two 12-year-old girls lured their friends into the woods and stabbed her repeatedly, nearly killing her. They claimed to have done this at the behest of the legendary internet creation known as Slender Man. A father of one of these girls called the movie “distasteful” publically and was very unhappy that it appeared as though Sony was trying to capitalize on a tragedy. Even if that wasn’t the cast, and it didn’t necessarily appear to be, that spooked them.
As a result, several violent scenes were axed from the final edit. A scene in which a girl stabs her eyes out and another one where a girl encounters Slender Man in the woods, prompting her to rip her tongue out, were both cut. And both of these scenes were teased in the movie’s first trailer as well. It’s fairly common to have some footage in trailers that doesn’t make the final cut. However, those who have seen this movie have been quick to point out that there are plot points that don’t get resolved, bizarre edits and other such nonsense that makes it quite clear this isn’t the movie that was intended by the filmmakers.
This also helps explain the drama that we learned of ahead of the release, which saw the producers, who wanted the studio to get behind the movie, searching for a new distributor. That didn’t happen so the studio stuck to the release date, barely marketed it and are just moving on. Slender Man has been subjected to bad reviews, negative word of mouth and isn’t going to be the hit it may well have been in different hands and in a different situation. For what it’s worth, the movie has made $14.6 million against a $10 million budget, so it may not be a total financial disaster, but certainly not a hit. This news comes to us courtesy of Bloody Disgusting. You can still see a some of the cut footage in these previous trailers for the movie.