Friday, 21 August 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #354: Shutter Island Shuffled

Paramount has moved moved Martin Scorsese's adaptation of Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island from its October release to February 2010.

Now the point of the October release was to catch the mature audience as well as leave it open to Academy voters in time for the nominations. Moving the film to February kind of puts it into the winter hinterlands. Paramount is saying that it's not a problem, because the recently expansion of Oscar nominations from five to ten opens the possibility of it still being remembered for the 2011 nominations.

But I think that's just window dressing. The main reason for the bump is the plain and simple fact is that Paramount just doesn't have the money to cover the $50-$60 million costs of releasing the movie. Paramount is blaming this shortfall on the recent plunge in DVD sales.

However, I think this whole thing is a case of Hollywood's business practices coming home to roost. The high cost of making movies, coupled with the studio's obsession with big "tent-pole" blockbusters, and the sheer dearth of quality in many of these movies are starting to affect day to day operations.

This isn't some shoe-string indie company struggling to survive, this is Paramount we're talking about, one of the oldest and biggest movie companies in the world. But the Weimar Republic style inflation affliction film production and marketing, is starting to price itself out of business.

If this isn't a warning, I don't know what is.

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