I'm working on submitting info for a page on the "European" version of the Pilot on the IMDb website. There used to be separate listing for it and the shorter version aired on TV in the USA, but the page, with it's info, was lost in a recent change of the TV episode database, and the two versions were merged into one listing. I want to restore a seperate listing.
Here's an IMDb post on this subject by a very knowledgable fan:
About the 'Euro Version'
by ___________________ ( Mon Apr 16 2007 11:45:16)
I once talked to a person who saw the stand-alone version at a Spanish festival screening in 1989, but I can't corroborate that on the internet. However, I did find a Usenet post from a person who saw the pilot (probably the broadcast version) at a film festival on February 10th, 1990. Go to Google, hit "more," select "groups," and enter this in the search field:
"Kyle McLaughlin an FBI operative"
What I know is partly based on similar posts that didn't make it through the archival process. Relevant information between '92 and '95 just isn't there anymore. And the alt.tv.twin-peaks newsgroup obviously wasn't around before April of 1990, so that also makes it tough. But you can search it and see that the video was out in Europe at or before the time of the pilot's first US airing on April 8th, 1990. A person from Norway describes it on April 17th. Go back to Google's newsgroup search and enter this:
group:alt.tv.twin-peaks "I recently saw" "here in norway"
Here's the story as I know it: The pilot finished filming in March of 1989, complete with footage for the foreign video release. Post production was completed in time for the networks to pick up shows for the Fall season, a process that ends halfway through May. No one picked up the show, and Lynch eventually went to film Wild at Heart. He later learned on set that Twin Peaks might make it to television as a midseason replacement. So there was roughly a year between the pilot's completion and its American broadcast premiere. During that entire time, Warner Home Video had the finished film as well as distribution rights. With a need to recoup production costs and no logical reason to wait, I believe Warner put the movie out as soon as possible.
Many fans seem to think the stand-alone version was released only because the show became a hit, but that money-grubbing maneuver didn't happen until 1991, when the foreign version was released in North America. If, as so many claim, Warner Home Video was under an obligation to suppress it if the show aired, then there would have been no release. For obvious reasons, there may have been a clause about domestic sales, but the overseas deal was inherently separate. When the show premiered, people were going crazy about the mystery, and the existence of the "Euro version" was widely reported because it revealed a murderer. Once more, go back to Google's newsgroup search and enter this:
group:alt.tv.twin-peaks "star reveals twin peaks killer"
And check out this Entertainment Weekly article from April 6th, 1990:
An American magazine was able to get a copy of the tape, write up a description, and publish it before ABC aired the pilot. That leads me to think it had been available for a while. Warner had no reason to wait for the show to air. Except for smash hits, the markets were separate, which was the very reason for making a stand-alone version. It was made for people who were never going to see the series, so there was no motive to coordinate the network premiere with foreign distribution.
Of course, maybe back then it simply took a long time to get a video overseas. In any case, it's clear to me that the tape came out before the US broadcast, but I'm not sure how you'd find the exact release date. The stand-alone version, as far as I know, was never aired in Europe or anywhere else. I often hear that it had a foreign theatrical run but haven't seen any convincing evidence.
But this is all only hearsay, though it sounds pretty accurate. Does anyone have links to sources of info about the pilot or can corroborate anything said above?