Just when you think you're out, Paramount Pictures pulls you back in. The studio announced today that a brand new edit and restoration Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part III has been completed and will be released later this year. Titled Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, the new version will have a theatrical release in December of this year and will be released on home media later. According to a press release, the new version "achieves director/screenwriter Coppola and screenwriter Puzo’s original vision for the finale, which has been meticulously restored for the finest presentation of the Corleone saga’s last chapter."
“‘Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone’ is an acknowledgment 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.”
Coppola's long running production company American Zoetrope created the new version of the film from a 4K scan of the original negative, working frame-by-frame to artfully restore both the new “Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone” and the original “The Godfather: Part III.” Zoetrope and Paramount used alternate takes for some sequences to replace lower resolution opticals in the original negative. As they outline in the announcement, this process took six months and saw them sift through 300 cartons of negative. Work on the project was completed remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, but American Zoetrope was able to repair scratches, stains, and other anomalies that could not be addressed previously due to technology constraints.
“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,” said Andrea Kalas, senior vice president, Paramount Archives.
The Godfather: Part III was famously released on Christmas day in 1990, marking the return of Coppola to the story that brought him Oscar gold in the 1970s with the first two features. Al Pacino returned once again as Michael Corleone. Despite an average critical response compared to the preceding entries in the series, Part III was nominated for seven Academy Award, including Best Picture and Best Director (losing both prizes to Dances with Wolves).