Francis Ford Coppola will produce new cut of ‘Godfather: Part III’

Just when you thought Francis Ford Coppola was out of “The Godfather” brand, they pulled him right back in.

Paramount Pictures announced Thursday it will release a new edit and restoration of the 1990 film directed by Coppola, “The Godfather: Part III,” in theaters for a limited release in December, Variety reported. That will be followed by digital and Blu-ray versions, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The third film has been renamed “Mario Puzo’s The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone,” Paramount said. The studio said the new cut achieves the original vision that Coppola and screenwriter Mario Puzo -- who wrote “The Godfather” novel in 1969 -- had for the movie.

The final chapter chronicling the saga of the Corleone family was a box office hit and was nominated for seven Academy Awards. But the film, released on Christmas Day 1990, never matched the hardware won by “The Godfather” (1972), which was nominated for 11 Oscars and won three; and “The Godfather: Part II,” which also was nominated for 11 Oscars and won six.

“Mario Puzo’s ’The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone’ is an acknowledgment of Mario’s and my preferred title and our original intentions for what became The Godfather: Part III,” Coppola said in a statement. “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 previously restored the first two “Godfather” films in 2008. He has since released a “final cut” version of “Apocalypse Now” and an “encore” edition of “The Cotton Club,” according to Consequences of Sound.

Coppola and his production company, American Zoetrope, worked from a 4K scan of the original negative and did a frame-by-frame restoration of the new version of new film, Variety reported.

Coppola dug through 300 cartons of negatives and replaced more than 50 lower resolution optical while repairing scratches and stains, Vanity Fair reported. There were also enhancements made to the film’s original 5.1 audio mix, the magazine reported.

In the final analysis, it was an offer Coppola could not refuse.

“Mr. Coppola oversaw every aspect of the restoration while working on the new edit, ensuring that the film not only looks and sounds pristine, but also meets his personal standards and directorial vision,” Andrea Kalas, senior vice president of Paramount Archives, told Variety.