Thursday, September 17, 2009

Scorsese's Shutter Island Shoved Back 4 1/2 Months

By Steve Evans

Paramount Pictures will push back the release date of Martin Scorsese's hotly anticipated psychological thriller Shutter Island by 4 1/2 months to Feb. 19. The film was originally slated to hit theaters Oct. 2.

The suits at Paramount hinted in a statement about exorbitant marketing costs for Scorsese's adaptation of the Dennis Lehane period novel. It's a corker of a tale with a (too-clever-by-half) twist ending: a U.S. marshall investigates the disappearance of a murderess on an island institution for the criminally insane off the coast of Massachusetts. Scorsese's adaptation is undoubtedly an expensive picture, headlined by Leonardo DiCaprio with supporting work from Sir Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow. Truth is, Paramount is reportedly pumping a lot of green money into Peter "I ain't no hobbit" Jackson's The Lovely Bones, a grim little picture based on the 2002 novel by Alice Sebold, whose story follows a teenage girl raped and murdered and who later feels compelled to tell her tale from beyond the grave. Jackson's cheery movie doesn't come out until Dec. 11, so Paramount's dark hints about saving marketing dollars on Shutter Island until next year don't make a lick of sense.

Worse, releasing Shutter Island in February makes the picture and Scorsese & Co. ineligible for Oscar gold until 2011. Now, Academy voters have notoriously short memories. It's not likely they'll be thinking about a Scorsese thriller released in February 2010 when it comes time to vote for the Oscars in January 2011. The last time a winter release ran amok at the Academy Awards was 1991 when The Silence of the Lambs cleaned up a bloody mess with best picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay statuettes.

So what the hell is going on here?

At Cinema Uprising, we've got all the faith in the world that Marty Scorsese will deliver the goods. Has the man ever made a bad film? But the truth is, February is a dumping ground for all the movies that Hollywood studio executives think will tank at the box office anyway. They run perceived garbage to the cinematic landfill from late January through February, book their financial losses for the first quarter, then shrug and promise shareholders the rest of the year will be better. And you know the suits at Paramount have all seen Shutter Island. Somebody got cold feet after the original marketing push was underway. Hell's bells: my local AMC theater already has promotional posters the size of a Buick hanging in the lobby.

Lordy, I hope I'm wrong. I'm just sayin' it doesn't sound good....

Copyright © 2009 by Cinematic Cteve // dba Cinema Uprising. All rights reserved.

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