Hollywood is screwing with their release schedule again, moving movies its movies around to take advantage of your box-office dollars. The big news — and what set a lot of the moves in motion — was the decision to move Shutter Island from its October, Oscar-baiting spot and into February of next year, where it’s virtually guaranteed not to receive any awards consideration in 2010. It’s a mysterious move, but according to Nikke Finke — who makes up the news, and everyone else makes it happen — they moved it because of awards season. They didn’t want to spend another $50 million marketing it as an awards contender. You really have to wonder, actually, how many films recoup their awards marketing budgets. Frost/Nixon, for instance, made $18 million at the box office despite all its nominations. And with an early October release date, Shutter Island is not the kind of movie that would be re-released in February and March to capitalize on the nominations.
Essentially, it’s a little more evidence to suggest that studios are more interested in the bottom line than they are in prestige, particularly given how little prestige an Oscar nomination actually affords a film these days.
The bad news: We’ll have to wait another several months to see Shutter Island. The good news: Zombieland is moving up a week to fill its spot. I was actually excited about that, because it meant that it wouldn’t be up against Whip It, and I kind of realy want to see both movies. But, of course, Whip It also moved back to the same week, and both will be competing against the re-release of Toy Story 1 and 2, which also leaves October 9th all to the pretty awful looking Couples Retreat starring Vince Vaughn, Kristen Bell, Jason Bateman, and Jon Favreau.
But wait! There’s more: Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which had originally planned to open wide on Thanksgiving, will now be giving a limited release two weeks earlier, which suggests they have enough confidence in the movie that the limited release will help build buzz towards the wide open.
Meanwhile, that Michael Jackson movie comprised mostly of the rehearsal footage from the days leading up to his death is getting seriously fast-tracked. It will open on October 28th. They’re really not wasting any time in putting that together.
Elsewhere, I heard somewhere (I forget, honestly) that Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans finally gets a release date: November 20th. I expect it will be a limited release only.
And just for the hell of it, let’s look ahead to May 2010, the start of the next summer blockbuster season, and see what we have in store: It kicks off with Iron Man 2, followed the next week by Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood film starring Russell Crowe. The week after that, it’s Shrek Forever and May ends with a face off between Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and Sex and the City 2. Good times.
Finally, one last note: Black Dynamite, which looks like a movie tailor-made for a trailer (and perhaps not much else) will be released in October. Let’s take another gander at the trailer, because, well, it’s awesome: