I’ll be seeing Rocknrolla, the new Guy Ritchie gangster film, on the Warner Bros lot in a week or two.
Or will I?
The LA Times reveals that producer Joel Silver is shopping the movie to other studios since Warner Bros doesn’t seem that terribly excited about it. What does Alan Horn, the guy in charge of Warner Bros have to say about that? Pretty much he agrees.
“I think it’s a well-made picture, but while it’s funny in spots, it’s very English,” he said. “I don’t think it’s broadly commercial. It feels like a film that deserves a spirited release, but not a wide one. Joel has an 800-screen deal, which we’ll honor, but we might not be willing to spend the marketing money he wants us to.”
Horn shrugged. “I guess I’m in a shocking state of equanimity,” he said. “The filmmakers have every right to do what they think is best in support of their movies. But we have the right to do what’s best for Warner Bros. Sometimes the pursuit of those interests results in a disagreement. For now, we’re preparing to release the film in October, but I don’t see it starting out on 800 screens. If Joel is thinking there is someone out there willing to spend twice as much money as we’re willing to, I’m sure he will pursue that.”
It’s hard to imagine Warner Bros treating Silver like this back when The Matrix was huge, that’s for sure. Of course they’ve boned him before: the studio buried Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, one of the best movies of this decade.
Rocknrolla isn’t the only movie that Warner Bros is looking to lose. There’s obviously Trick ‘r Treat, and Danny Boyle’s new movie, Slumdog Millionaire, about a boy in India who becomes rich on a game show (and which will be playing the Toronto Film Festival, as is Rocknrolla). The problem is that Warner Bros is dealing with the collapse of New Line into their main body and the roll-up of Warner Independent. Distribution honcho Dan Fellman tells the Times: “We’re distributing more movies from September to the end of the year than most studios do in an entire year.”
For now they’re still distributing and promoting Rocknrolla. Hopefully I’ll be doing some phoners with folks involved with the film as well, since the junket for the movie is happening in Toronto. I don’t imagine that the film will get bought by another studio between now and the October release date, so I assume I’ll be dealing with the lovely Warner publicity people on it until the bitter end… when the studio buries it.
Head over to Ain’t It Cool for Mr Beaks’ take on all this, where he hopes for the best because Joel Silver is our guy for future Shane Black projects.