Be careful what you wish for. Many of us fervently hoped Warner Brothers would bring The Assassination of Jesse James into a wide release through October. And now…

Yesterday afternoon I got an email from our Atlanta WB rep saying that Warner Brothers would be releasing the film in Atlanta…this Friday. Such a short lead time means little proper in-market advertising. It means that weeklies like ATL’s Creative Loafing won’t make deadline, and so won’t be running any coverage. Unlike some cities this week, Atlanta will get a press screening, so the AJC and other local outlets should be able to run coverage.

The same thing is happening in other cities around the country. I’d love to tell you which ones, but my questions to Warner Brothers asking for a list of cities for the 10/12 opening went unanswered.

Jeff Wells has written about the dumping in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City and it’s probably hitting other markets as well. This is an ignominious fate for an excellent film and a sad failure on the studio’s part. This would also have been the ideal time for Brad Pitt to get out and do at least a little bit of non-festival publicity.

I understand that this is a difficult movie to market, and it’s not an ‘audience movie’ in the way that Michael Clayton is. (Inasmuch as Gilroy’s film is at least an adult audience movie.) But when you’ve got every writer on the web except David Poland angling to help sell this bloody thing, there’s got to be some solution.

Check your papers this week. See the movie if you can. It’s worth it.