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.
Some reports claim that the theatrical cut of the film is the version edited by Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker, not Kenneth Lonergan, but in a 2012 IndieWire interview, Lonergan refers to both the theatrical cut and the extended cut released on home video as his own.
Kenneth Lonergan was contractually obligated to deliver a cut of 150 minutes but his preferred version ran close to three hours. Martin Scorsese (who had previously deemed Lonergan's cut a "masterpiece") and his longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker were drafted to create an alternate edit. Their cut was similar to Lonergan's, and ran 160 minutes.
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 responded by suing Searchlight and director Kenneth Lonergan because he felt that they refused Gilbert's help to finish the movie (a process which required producers, directors, and editors like Scott Rudin, Martin Scorsese, Thelma Schoonmaker, and Sydney Pollack).
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.
Despite Kenneth Lonergan's long and troubled editing process, studio Fox Searchlight was not willing to fire a director with final cut privilege and risk damaging their reputation among other filmmakers.
Gary Gilbert was initially tolerant of the extended editing process because he had faith in Kenneth Lonergan, and paid out of his own pocket for additional time in the editing suite. However, producer Scott Rudin would describe Gilbert's scrutiny and excessive involvement in the editing process as "toxic."
In fall 2007, Gary Gilbert hired Dylan Tichenor to help create another edit of the film. He and Tichenor created a two-hour cut, dubbed the "Peggy cut" (after Gilbert's production company), which Kenneth Lonergan was unsatisfied with. Lonergan finished his own two-and-a-half-hour cut over half a year later, in summer 2008.
Martin Scorsese's edit was a little longer than Kenneth Lonergan's. Fox Searchlight and Lonergan were prepared to release it under a "presented by Martin Scorsese" banner and submit it to the 2011 Toronto film festival, but Lonergan claims Gary Gilbert refused to sign off on it. Gilbert denies this.