In 2008, about a decade after its original theatrical debut, writer-director Mark Christopher assembled a bootleg Director's Cut of the film with 45 minutes of never before seen footage and unofficially screened it at New York's Outfest around July-August 2008. This version reinstated the blatant promiscuity and bisexuality of Ryan Phillippe's character, as well as the film's core love triangle between Phillippe, Salma Hayek and Breckin Meyer which the Miramax studio forced him to cut from the original release.
Though set in New York, the majority of this film was actually shot in Toronto, Canada in 1997. Principal photography for this movie was filmed during September, October and November 1997. Re-shoots of the picture were filmed in June 1998 only about two months before the film was due to launch in late August 1998. This additional photography was shot in New York and cast were not told the content of the scenes. The additional filming was conducted due to the poor results from early test screenings. Ultimately, 45 minutes of the original film was replaced with 25 minutes of new footage, the running time went from a two hour version to one around an hour and a half.
In the end credits, Mike Myers' name appears next to a photo of Gilda Radner at Studio 54. When Myers was a boy, he played Radner's son in a Canadian television commercial, and both were cast members of "Saturday Night Live" (1975) (at different times).
In February 2015, a 105 minute director's cut of the film, which includes over 30 minutes of footage from the original shoot which has never been seen in any previous cut, and deleting all but a few seconds of the studio-dictated reshot footage, was screened in the Panorama section of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival. Director Mark Christopher has claimed that this version will be released on DVD and digitally some time in 2015.
Director Mark Christopher turned in his original cut in early 1998. Studio reaction to this rough cut was very positive, but two preview screenings in Long Island, NY proved disastrous. Audiences complained that none of the characters were likable, and found much of the gay content uncomfortable. In particular, the kiss between Ryan Phillippe and Breckin Meyer yielded a negative reaction, with viewers complaining that neither actor seemed comfortable in the scene. Miramax head Harvey Weinstein ordered extensive reshoots to alter the plot, removing most references to Phillipe's character's bisexuality, expanding Neve Campbell's role as a love interest, and adding a new ending. Ultimately, the film didn't fare better with critics or audiences, and Christopher's original cut became something of a legend among film enthusiasts. Bootleg copies of the director's cut circulated for years before an official announcement in 2015 of an official release.
This film was released in the same year as another disco movie, The Last Days of Disco (1998). Production of that film was accelerated in order to get it released before 54 (1998) which it beat to theaters by about three months.
In later years, Salma Hayek has confessed that she wished she hadn't made the film as she felt her part was completely underwritten. She did concede that the film garnered her a lot of attention though.