The Godfather Part III is dead. Long live The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone.

That’s the new title of the upcoming director’s cut for the film, which is being released for the first time this December on Blu-ray and Digital. According to the press release, The Godfather Coda — full official title Mario Puzo’s The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone — was made from a “ 4K scan of the original negative” and involved finding “50 original takes to replace lower resolution opticals in the original negative” over the course of six months..

Here is director Francis Ford Coppola’s comment on the new cut in the official release date announcement, along with some description of exactly what has been changed in this new cut:

‘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. 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 reference to his “preferred title” alludes to the fact that he always wanted to call this movie The Death of Michael Corleone — without any reference to The Godfather. He liked to think of The Godfather as a two-part story, with Part III actually serving as an epilogue, or coda, if you will. Paramount quite reasonably demanded Coppola leverage their very famous and very popular title, and that’s how we wound up with The Godfather Part III. (They might have also thought The Death of Michael Corleone was a bit of a spoiler, which is also quite reasonable.)

Here’s the full box art for The Godfather Coda:

Paramount

I actually like The Godfather Part III, at least until it’s messy and disappointing ending. The movie has an incredible Al Pacino performance and some really beautiful sequences. So a Godfather Part III with a new ending and rearranged scenes sounds very interesting to me. The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone will be available on Blu-ray and digital on December 8.

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