Today Sony announced that The Green Hornet, Seth Rogen’s leap into superhero movies, was going to be retrofitted for 3D. That’s not particularly surprising, really, since it seems like every goddamned movie is traipsing down this same awful path in post-production. But there’s a secondary part of this that gives pause – they’ve delayed the film until January 14th. That’s the second release date delay on a movie that’s already been delayed a number of times before starting production, including when original director and co-star Stephen Chow dropped off the project.
The official story is that there won’t be enough 3D screens for the movie’s original December release, since Tron Legacy is going to be squatting on pretty much every single one. But January? And the 14th? That’s the date that MGM moved the now-3D Cabin in the Woods. And Priest is opening that weekend too… 3D as well. Now, it’s possible that Cabin in the Woods could fall off that date (or off the calendar altogether with MGM’s current state), and they’re both smaller films, but that’s not a weekend that’s free and clear.
Oh yeah, and it’s a shitty weekend. January is a dumping ground; your smaller, genre films can make some money, but nobody opens their big budget tentpoles there. Maybe Sony’s going to look like geniuses after Green Hornet gives the release calendar a make-over, but the more likely reality is that the studio is more or less dumping the picture. If they wanted it 3D and didn’t have the screens in December, why not wait until March, a more respectable (but still fringe) month?
It really looks like Sony doesn’t like what they have. Or at least really, really doesn’t understand what they have. Drew McWeeny from HitFix got kind of irritated with the internet tonight when everyone took these bad signs as… well, bad signs, and I think he’s right about one thing – this doesn’t mean the movie’s bad, just that Sony doesn’t like it/doesn’t get it.
Talking to Drew tonight he reminded me that Warner Bros really hated Where the Wild Things Are, which is a valid point. Except that Where the Wild Things Are was an art film smuggled into the system. I haven’t been on the set of Green Hornet, but my understanding is that this isn’t an art film, and so I’d hope that the studio would see something marketable in there.
Nobody knows because nobody outside of Sony has seen more than a few clips. There are already a lot of wild stories floating – Jeff Wells is claiming that there will be massive reshoots on the film – but few confirmed facts and even fewer educated opinions. So what it comes down to is this: the date seems to be a strong sign of no faith from Sony, but that doesn’t have any bearing on the film as a movie. And you have to decide for yourself – are you the sort of film fan who worries about opening weekend grosses (ie, not a real film fan) or the kind who cares about getting good movies?