Ever since David Fincher‘s Zodiac opened early last March the hardcores have been eagerly awaiting the “Directors’ Cut” DVD, in part over expectations that something close to a three-hour version of this classic crime-obsession movie would be offered, especially as I’d heard from various sources that something close to a 180-minute cut has been screened, with one publicist telling me in particular that he preferred the longer version to the the final release-print version, which either ran 156 minutes (according to Variety‘s Todd McCarthy), 157 minutes (per Amazon) or 158 minutes (says the IMDB).

The “Lake Berryessa” scene in Zodiac.

Now for some mildly shocking news: the Zodiac “Director’s Cut” DVD that will be released on 1.8.08 (official stories have run over the last couple of days) will run 162 minutes, according to a story by DVD Lounge‘s Travis Leammons. That will make it a mere five minutes longer than the theatrical version (if you go by the Amazon running time) or six minutes longer if you go with McCarthy’s count.

The whole point of Zodiac is obsession. The fun is in the obsessive wading through detail after detail, clue after clue, hint after hint. It follows, therefore, that the Director’s Cut DVD should give free rein to the film’s investigative intrigues (Jake Gyllenhaal‘s, Mark Ruffalo‘s, Robert Downey‘s…everyone’s). This naturally means more details, hints and clues and more running time to explore each one. In this light, five or six extra minutes isn’t nearly enough. I was looking for at least an extra 20 or 25 minutes. This is very disappointing.

I called Phoenix Picture to see if the 162-minute running time was correct. One guy expressed surprise at this length (“I would have thought it would be closer to three hours”) but said “we have nothing to do with the director’s cut.” I called Paramount Home Video publicity to double-confirm the running time, but the person I was looking for wasn’t in. I tried to reach David Fincher‘s Benjamin Button crew but gave up after a three or four calls. This sounds obsessive in itself.