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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

'Soloist,' 'Defiance,' 'Hurricane' all Pushed Back to 2009

By Eric D.Snider,Cinematical
October 17,2008

What's happening in Hollywood? Does no one have a day planner? Can nobody stick to a schedule? Pushing a film's release date back a week or two isn't a big deal, but when you move it to an entirely different calendar year, that changes everything -- especially its Oscar chances.

As we've already mentioned, rumors are swirling that the Weinsteins' The Road won't be done in time for its November release, and maybe not for December, either. Now we have three more titles on the move. Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere is reporting that the Weinsteins' Hurricane Season, an Inspiring Sports Drama® about a high school basketball team composed of displaced Katrina survivors, is "not ready" for its planned Christmas Day release and is being pushed back to March. And at Paramount, two Oscar hopefuls, Defiance and The Soloist, are being bumped to 2009, too, according to Variety.

The Soloist move is the one that should raise the most eyebrows. A true story starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. (pictured), it has all the hallmarks of a feel-good Oscar contender, and that's how Paramount and DreamWorks (which produced it) were positioning it. But now it's being moved from Thanksgiving to March, which is basically Paramount's way of saying they don't have much confidence in its Oscar potential after all. At the very least, it means they think its chances of making a lot of money (which are higher in March than in the crowded holiday season) are greater than its chances of winning awards. Which might actually be a very smart financial move, so good for them.

Defiance, meanwhile, still has a sliver of Oscar hope. A Holocaust drama starring Liev Schreiber and Daniel Craig, it was supposed to open wide on Dec. 12. Now it will get a small Oscar-qualifying run starting on Dec. 31 and open wide Jan. 16. A major release in December would have meant a higher profile. Now it will have to rely on early critics' screenings and placement in top 10 lists to boost its Oscar buzz, and whatever buzz it does get will come much later than originally planned.

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