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Why Zack Snyder’s Justice League is in 4:3 aspect ratio and not in widescreen format

Why Zack Snyder's Justice League is not in widescreen format
Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Pic credit: Warner Bros

When fans sit down to watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max, they might be in for a surprise when they realize it is not in widescreen format.

This means that the small bars that are usually on the top and bottom of the screens are replaced by bulky black bars on the left and right sides of the screen.

This means, instead of the picture stretching across the screen, it is in a square box.

This is similar to old shows from the days before widescreen TVs became the norm. Many DVDs in the past were sold in widescreen or standard, which was the box screen, and that went away when no one had square TVs anymore.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League has brought back the square box.

Why is Zack Snyder’s Justice League in 4:3 not widescreen?

The theatrical cut of Justice League is in widescreen, which is what most people today are used to.

However, Zack Snyder had big plans for his cut of the movie. He has dreams of the movie ending up on giant IMAX screens in theaters.

The fact he only had the promise of it screening on HBO Max didn’t deter him from shooting it just in case it did appear on an IMAX screen.

However, he never shot it with IMAX cameras. Instead, he shot it in the size format that IMAX screens use. Most movies only shoot certain scenes for IMAX screens and it moves in and out throughout the movie.

For Snyder, he wanted it to look like it was made for IMAX screens and made the entire Zack Snyder’s Justice League in this size.

Zack Snyder shot it in 1.33.1 aspect ratio, which is mostly the same as the 4:3 framing that TV shoes used until the late 90s.

Zack Snyder talks square picture

There is little chance that Zack Snyder’s Justice League will get the giant screen IMAX release, especially not at four hours.

However, when talking at JusticeCon in 2020, he said he was “obsessed with the big square.”

Most people today have HD or 4K TVs and those have an aspect ratio of 1.78.1, so this is really going to look weird for people to see.

Zack Snyder isn’t finished either, as he also has the dream to transfer the entire movie into black & white, or “grey” as he describes it, and possibly add that onto a DVD release in the future, so it won’t be widescreen or in color.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League hits HBO Max on March 18.

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