Paramount Bumps Shutter Island Out of Awards Season, Into 2010
Paramount pulled a fast one on Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and pretty much the entire awards-watching establishment today, pushing its Oscar-season war horse Shutter Island out of its Oct. 2 slot and into the late-winter dead zone of Feb. 19, 2010. Studio insiders have whispered that cash-flow woes at the 'Mount will hinder the studio's effort to make an acceptable awards push this fall, and that opening early next year will be just fine for the big-budget prestige thriller, especially now that the Academy has 10 Best Picture berths to dole out. And why not?
It worked for The Soloist! Actually, I can think of a couple reasons.
First off, you don't do Marty like that. He's not Joe Wright or Bryan Singer or Joe Freaking Johnston, whose Wolfman will open a week ahead of Shutter after its own ignominious studio delays (and will now be summarily crushed in week two -- sorry, Universal). No matter how bad your DVD revenues are or how little you've got on hand to position Scorsese and Co. from December on, you don't complain. You just suck it up and spend. It's his follow-up to his Best Picture winner -- which Brad Grey co-produced. (Unless you count Shine a LIght, which I wouldn't, though I'm sure Scorsese, Grey and everyone at the 'Mount would give that one back if it meant Shutter could stay put.)
Second, let's say you really can't get the cash to promote Shutter the way you usually would. Isn't Paramount supposed to be the leader in brave new marketing strategies? Can't they take this on a mid-America tour and spoon-feed it to some willing critics to generate some cheap, quick Oscar buzz?
Third, are we really supposed to believe the Nikki Finke source who says DiCaprio will be unavailable to promote Shutter internationally, thus the push-back to February? How does it help anything -- particularly its Oscar viability over a year later -- to have the actor's Chris Nolan picture Inception throwing a massive summer shadow over the proceedings? In both directions? Can we actually take this any other way besides the studio giving up on it?
Anyway, on a side note, congratulations to Focus Features and A Serious Man, also booked for Oct. 2: You just landed that weekend's big press and, in all likelihood, a Best Picture nomination. High-five!