Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather Part III” is getting a new restoration and director’s cut edit of the final chapter in the Godfather saga, and the film will be re-released theatrically in December ahead of a home video release, Paramount announced Thursday.
The new version of the film will be called “The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone.” Coppola says it includes a new beginning and ending, some rearranged scenes and other alterations.
“‘Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone’ is an acknowledgement of Mario’s and my preferred title and our original intentions for what became ‘The Godfather: Part III,'” Coppola said in a statement. “For this version of the finale, I created a new beginning and ending, and rearranged some scenes, shots, and music cues. With these changes and the restored footage and sound, to me, it is a more appropriate conclusion to ‘The Godfather’ and ‘The Godfather: Part II’ and I’m thankful to Jim Gianopulos and Paramount for allowing me to revisit it.”
This should come as exciting news to fans of “The Godfather” films (which is pretty much everyone who has ever seen them), as the third film released in 1990 was not necessarily the masterpiece that its predecessors were, despite the film’s Best Picture nomination and seven Oscar nominations in all.
The film will have a limited theatrical release in December, followed by availability on digital home entertainment platforms and on-disc.
Coppola’s adaptation of Puzo’s novel chronicles the rise and fall of the Corleone family, and the third film follows Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), now in his 60s, as he seeks to free his family from crime and find a suitable successor to his empire.
Coppola and his production company American Zoetrope worked from a 4K scan of the original negative to undertake a painstaking, frame-by-frame restoration of both the new “Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone” and the original theatrical cut of “The Godfather: Part III.”
In order to create the best presentation possible, Zoetrope and Paramount’s restoration team began by searching for over 50 original takes to replace lower resolution opticals in the original negative. This process took more than six months and involved sifting through 300 cartons of negative. American Zoetrope worked to repair scratches, stains, and other anomalies that could not be addressed previously due to technology constraints, while enhancements were made to the original 5.1 audio mix.
Production on the restoration continued even through the coronavirus pandemic, though restoration had to shift midway through the project to San Francisco from Los Angeles and was completed by Zoetrope and Paramount remotely.
“Mr. Coppola oversaw every aspect of the restoration while working on the new edit, ensuring that the film not only looks and sounds pristine, but also meets his personal standards and directorial vision,” Andrea Kalas, senior vice president, Paramount Archives, said in a statement.
Additional details about the theatrical and home entertainment releases will be provided at a later date.