Studios Shuffle Holiday Schedules
As films falter in meeting their deadlines to make their scheduled release dates, studios are constantly shuffling the calendar. This time of years the gamesmanship is especially tough as studios eye projects with the hopes of securing Academy Award nominations. The dominoes have been falling with particular speed in the last week so here’s a recap.
With The Weinstein Company most likely bumping The Road from November to December to 2009, it has put its marketing efforts behind The Reader.
This was seen as a good opportunity for Paramount which had a lot of faith in the Robert Downey Jr. film, The Soloist. Instead, they surprised prognosticators and moved the film to March 13, 2009. Word is that test screenings did not go well and rather than spend extra dollars to rush, Paramount’s budget cutting has prompted the schedule shift.
The studio has also delayed Defiance, the World War II drama starring Daniel Craig, to open on December 31, just in time to qualify for the Oscars but away from the box office competition in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
What this does is also shift which performers will receive studio dollars behind Oscar bids. As we wave farewell to Viggo Mortenson, Jamie Foxx and others, the field now turns to focus on Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Mickey Rourke (Wrestler), Josh Brolin (W.), Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) and Sean Penn (Milk). Downey is likely to be pushed by Paramount for both Iron Man and more likely a supporting nod in Tropic Thunder while Warner Bros. will most certainly launch a major campaign for Heath Ledger’s role as the Joker in The Dark Knight.
The final bit of scheduling news also involves Downey as his Sherlock Holmes has been pencilled in for November 20 2009.