I've been slacking in the site updates this summer, thanks to my Lynda.com screenwriting course (taping has now been completed!) and various jobs and travels. So this is a quicky. In short: lately I have noticed a surprisingly large number of major Hollywood pictures having their release dates bumped back a year. Why? The given reasons are numerous, though usually vague. In any event:
- Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. We were just ten days into 2012 when Paramount acknowledged that its March 2012 action/comedy, updating the old Brothers Grimm fable, would be shelved until January 2013. Maybe they were afraid of going up against The Hunger Games. Or maybe they were trying to figure out when to best cash in on star Jeremy Renner's new-found fame.
- Jack the Giant Killer. Did Hollywood fear that, especially thanks to two Snow White movies coming out this year, there were just too many fairy tales on the market? Perhaps. Because at the beginning of this year, Bryan Singer's version of Jack and the Beanstalk was rescheduled from June 2012 to March 2013, and retitled Jack the Giant Slayer to boot.
- 47 Ronin. I didn't even know about this film's existence until I started researching all the 2012 titles that were being delayed. But it's an action pic about a team of 18th century Samurai - Keanu Reeves(!) leads a Japanese cast - fighting the forces of evil, including a bunch of fantasy creatures. There may not have been enough time to perfect all the special effects by its original Thanksgiving 2012 release date. So now you get to see it (or avoid it) next year.
- World War Z. Brad Pitt fighting zombies? It sounds like either the coolest movie ever or some kind of industry in-joke you'd see on Entourage. The reality is that this action/horror film was suffering from story issues (and, allegedly, a runaway budget and bad blood on set - no pun intended). In order to accommodate rewrites and reshoots, Paramount went public with news of the film's postponement.
- Gravity. Alfonso Cuarón's long-gestating follow-up to his 2006 cult hit Children of Men is shrouded in mystery. All I know is that it's a sci fi movie starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, with most of its screen time devoted to Bullock stranded in space, all alone. Sounds like fun, right? It too was meant to come out in November of this year; its complicated CG work is responsible for the delay.
- G.I. Joe: Retaliation. This sequel to the 2009 pseudo-blockbuster G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was all ready to go this summer, but it's rumored that the film went into reshoots because Channing Tatum, who starred in the first Joe and was allegedly killed off in the opening minutes of Retaliation, became a bankable star this year. Although Paramount insists the delay was to allow for a 3-D conversion, they may also be shooting additional scenes with Tatum to appease his unexpected legions of fans.
- Gangster Squad. No rumors here: This Ryan Gosling suspenser about cops and mobsters in 1940s Los Angeles was postponed as a key scene in which bad guys gun down people inside a movie theater was uncomfortably similar to a madman's attack on a Colorado audience at the opening of The Dark Knight Rises. (Both films are Warner Bros. releases.) The scene has been cut and a replacement scene will be filmed in order to maintain the narrative's flow.
- The Great Gatsby. Another WB title, Baz Luhrmann's opulent 3-D adaptation of the Fitzgerald classic was slated for a Christmas release, obviously with Oscar hopes. Days ago, the studio pushed it back to summer 2013, claiming it was a "perfect summer movie". Really? Chances are more likely that the December release field was just too crowded, especially as Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained - featuring Gatsby star Leonardo DiCaprio - also has a Christmas release date. In short: too much Leo all at once.
- Inside Llewyn Davis. The latest from the Coen Brothers never had a firm release date, but everybody swore up and down that it was likely to be a 2012 film, even though shooting didn't commence until February of this year. Seeing as how the Coens had recently been releasing a new movie on an annual basis, it is a little surprising that they're taking almost three years to follow up True Grit with this seemingly low-key effort about a New York folk singer in the early '60s. I guess you can't rush auteurs.