When Fox Searchlight and Gary Gilbert refused to pay anymore for a film that seemed like it would never be released during the post-production process, Kenneth Lonergan turned to friend Matthew Broderick who lent him some money to continue working on his project.
Kenneth Lonergan was contractually obligated to deliver a cut of 150 minutes but his preferred version ran close to three hours. Martin Scorsese and his longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker were drafted in to hone the film into shape but were unable to complete their assignment as the funds ran out. Eventually Fox Searchlight released the film in its 150 minute format in a very limited run. Much to their surprise, it generated huge waves of critical favor, appearing on many critics' Top 10 Films of the Year lists.
The lengthy editing process of the movie sparked two lawsuits. Studio Fox Searchlight sued financier Gary Gilbert, because he failed to pay the studio half of the film's production costs. Gilbert followed by suing Searchlight and director Kenneth Lonergan, because he felt that they refused all of Gilbert's help to finally finish the movie during the editing process with the help of producers, directors and editors like Scott Rudin, Martin Scorsese, Thelma Schoonmaker and Sydney Pollack.
Despite Kenneth Lonergan's extensive and troubled editing process, studio Fox Searchlight was not willing to fire the "final cut"-director, because they didn't want to destroy their reputation among other directors.
The film debuted in the UK on just one screen, the Odeon Panton Street in London, where it earned nearly £5000 in its opening weekend. This meant it had the highest screen average of any film on release at the time.