Zack Snyder’s Justice League weird aspect ratio: Explained

Image: Warner Bros.

It’s been confirmed that Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be streaming on HBO Max with a 4:3 aspect ratio. If you may remember, this boxy format was a common ratio for movies and tv shows before the 2000s. So why is Zack Snyder using this format?

Zack Snyder shot some sequences of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) in a 1.43:1 aspect ratio. Which is commonly used by blockbuster films in their action sequences, as it covers up the entire screen. 

Snyder fell in love with the 1.43:1 aspect ratio and shot the Justice League with this ratio in mind. 

Image: Warner Bros.

What this means is that Zack Snyder’s Justice League will have black bars on the right and left side of the screen. This differs from the black bars on the top and bottom of a widescreen, which is the most common aspect ratio today. 

My intent was to have the movie, the entire film, play in a gigantic 1:43 aspect ratio on a giant IMAX screen, Superheroes tend to be, as figures, they tend to be less horizontal. Maybe Superman when he’s flying. But when he’s standing, he’s more of a vertical. Everything is composed and shot that way, and a lot of the restoration is sort of trying to put that back. Put these big squares back. … It’s a completely different aesthetic. It’s just got a different quality and one that is unusual. No one’s doing that.

Zack Snyder at Justice Con

The 4:3 aspect ratio allows directors the creative liberty to add more details horizontally instead of vertically. This is also why some action movies keep switching between full screen and widescreen ratio.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League will release in HBO Max on March 18.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League first dropped its trailer during the DCFanDome virtual event where it used the boxy 4:3 aspect ratio. Many fans assumed that this was just a one-time unique ratio that will be used only for the trailer. However, the final trailer for the movie also used the same boxy format.

It’s also been confirmed that Zack Snyder’s Justice League will also be released in black and white and will be called “Justice is Gray”.  Check out the trailer for it below!