X-Fan has posted a new interview with X2: X-Men United producer Ralph Winter in which he gives a production status update, running time info and more.
With the premiere of 20th Century Fox's big-budget mutant movie sequel X2 only a few weeks away, the promotional juggernaut is hitting full-stride with TV spots, special promotions, tie-ins, and more. X-Fan caught up with producer Ralph Winter for the current status of the film, as well as to find out more about what fans both old and new can expect.

X-FAN: First of all, Ralph, what's the current status of production?

WINTER: Tonight we'll be screening the movie really for the first time to some press people. We have a few more shots to finish and polish. We're taking up every available minute that we can, before we have to make prints, just to polish some of these shots and make them look great. We're very, very happy. There's a nice feeling right now of accomplishment at finishing. The music is spectacular, the story plays great, the effects are ground-breaking. We're feeling very, very good.

X-FAN: Was there a lot of pressure surrounding the sequel following the success of the first film?

WINTER: Yeah, there always is. We made the first movie intending to have a franchise, and we made it for a less-than-normal budget for a blockbuster, and we did well and that's what allows us to be here today with a second movie. But with the second one there's always pressure. More action, bigger scope, better story, all those good things. There's a tremendous amount of expectations that are laid on, and that's okay. We want to do that. We want to push ourselves into making a better movie, and I think we did. We genuinely feel that we have a better movie than the first movie.

X-FAN: Were you surprised at the success of the first film?

WINTER: I think we were shocked at how much money we did in the first weekend. I think we knew we'd do well, we didn't know we'd do that well, and that was a pleasant surprise. We would have been happy to hit the hundred million dollar mark. We did $150 and $180 in domestic so yeah, I think that kind of surprised us at the depth of fans and the want-to-see factor for the movie. And of course that's what's propelling us forward into doing the sequel.

X-FAN: What's the running time for X2?

WINTER: About 2 hours, 2 hours and 5 minutes, somewhere in there. There's a lot of credits, so maybe with our credits it might be longer. It might be like 2:12 because of the credits. There's a lot of people that worked on this movie. A lot of stunts, a lot of {effects}. In the first movie we used 12 FX houses, on this movie we're only using two principal FX houses but a lot of ancillary places to help out. It's a big movie. Takes a lot of effort. I think that's also indicative of how much is out there on the screen.

X-FAN: Did the much-touted Danger Room scene make it into the final cut?

WINTER: We built part of it. We got it started, but ultimately even in a movie this size, in a big budget, you've got to make choices. We've got thirteen characters to service in the movie, with all of their character pieces and participation in the plot of the movie. It's a lot to juggle, and then the Danger Room would almost be another character in itself to introduce and pay off, and it just became too much. We had to make choices. We wanted Beast in the movie. We wanted Angel in the movie. We wanted a lot of stuff, and at some point you just have to say, "Wait a minute..." It's hard for all of us. It's hard for the director, especially, because he wants more, and I guess the only consolation is if we do well with this we get to come play again and tell another story and maybe introduce some new characters and have fun with that.

X-FAN: So will there be an X3?

WINTER: I think so. We haven't developed a story per se. Bryan has some ideas and we've talked about different things, but I think since we don't have a specific story in mind, we're so close now that I think we're just going to wait and see how {X2} performs, and if the audience responds then that will propel us forward to make a third one. We'll know soon.

X-FAN: It's been said that X2's release marks the widest day and date release ever in motion picture history, opening in 93 territories.

WINTER: I think that's probably true. I know we're dubbing into seven different languages plus the sub-title prints we're making. It's an enormous effort to get the movie opening day and date around the world, and that creates it's own little buzz. We're hoping to get everybody excited all at the same time.

X-FAN: There's been a bit of confusion surrounding the full title of the movie. Is it X2, X-Men 2, or X-Men United?

WINTER: The title of the movie is X2. There's other monikers that we use in the advertising to target different markets, but the movie is X2. It stands on its' own that way.

X-FAN: Given that X2 launches quicker into its story than the first film did, is there a concern that some viewers may get lost?

WINTER: The movie is designed so that if you're not an X-Men fan, you don't need to be a hardcore fan to understand it. But if you are a hardcore fan, you'll appreciate the nuances that are built into the storytelling. We're definitely going after {them} because we know those are the serious folks who come back again and again, and there's a lot of stuff layered into the movie just for them. They'll see it, they'll smile, they'll know.

If you're not a fan, we're trying to reintroduce the characters so you understand what their powers are, what their agendas are, what they value, and get you to come on the journey with us and these X-Men. You can see it in the advertising that's coming out now. What we're doing is reintroducing each of the characters with their names on screen so that people can see and associate those funny mutant names with a face so that you know what a Cyclops is and Nightcrawler and Wolverine and what those names mean. So we're working hard to be sure that the people who weren't fans of the first one or didn't know about the first one won't be lost in this. We've done a careful job of bringing that part along for that part of the audience.

X-FAN: From reading the novelization and the comic book adaptation, it appears that X2 is a much darker film than the first.

WINTER: It is. I think it's more serious in tone. It does go deeper and darker into these characters. It's the battle that happens of values between Stryker and Xavier and Magneto. People get hurt. It's a bit darker story, but I think it's rich. There's lots of layers there that the audience is going to enjoy and be intrigued by and moved by.

X-FAN: Were there any standout scenes for you during production?

WINTER: We have a fight near the end of the movie with Wolverine {and Deathstrike} that particularly the hardcore fans will s
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