An extended director's cut was released on December 23, 2005, at the Laemmle Fairfax Theatre in Los Angeles, unsupported by advertising from 20th Century Fox. This version has been widely praised; at approximately 45 minutes longer than the original theatrical cut, it is reportedly the version Ridley Scott originally wanted released to theaters. The DVD of the extended Director's Cut was released on May 23, 2006. It comprises a four-disc box set with a runtime of 194 minutes, and is shown as a road show presentation with an overture, intermission, and entr'acte; the Blu-ray release omits the roadshow elements, running for 189 minutes. Scott gave an interview to STV on the occasion of the extended edition's UK release, when he discussed the motives and thinking behind the new version.
After the pitching of this film, studio marketing executives took it to be an action-adventure hybrid rather than what Ridley Scott and William Monahan intended it to be: a historical epic examining religious conflict. Fox promoted the film as an action movie with heavy elements of romance and, in their advertising campaign, made much of the "From the Director of Gladiator" slogan. When Scott presented the 194-minute version of the film to the studio, they balked at the length. Studio head Tom Rothman ordered the film to be trimmed down to only two hours, as he did not believe that a modern audience would go to see a three-hour-and-fifteen-minute movie. Ultimately, Rothman's decision backfired, as the film gained mixed reviews (with many commenting that the film seemed "incomplete") and severely under-performed at the US box office.