Steven Soderbergh's Che Sells to IFC; The Hurt Locker to Summit
by Alex Billington
September 10, 2008
Two more major sales today from Toronto: Steven Soderbergh's Che sold to IFC and Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker sold to Summit Entertainment. Both of these sales have been causing eyebrows to be raised and are interesting choices, especially Che. As everyone should know by now, Che is a two part epic about Cuban revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, that has been in constant debates over whether releasing both parts separately or together would be better. The Hurt Locker is an Iraq war film that has been receiving surprisingly very positive reviews up here in Toronto. This means we'll be seeing both of these films hit theaters sometime in the near future, but not necessarily in the full capacity that we initially expected.
I'm going to focus on Che, because I haven't seen The Hurt Locker yet and have so much more to say about it. Out of all the indie distributors, IFC is the last one that I thought would end up with Che. They're not a bad company, but they're not good either. None of their films ever hit big because they just don't have enough money to market to mainstream audiences. And with the Benicio Del Toro's early Oscar buzz, I would've expect someone with more money to pick up Che, especially because I think it deserves to have a solid release rather than just a throwaway small-time theatrical release. Early rumors pointed towards Mark Cuban's Magnolia picking up the two films, but apparently IFC ended up nabbing the rights.
Che is the most expensive film "by far" ever released by IFC in a simultaneous day-and-date theatrical and on-demand model. "After a one-week awards qualifying run in Los Angeles and New York in December, IFC will reopen the film in January through IFC on VOD and in theaters." Early reports from IFC execs suggest that the film will be released in two separate parts in its initial theatrical debut in December, but "that Soderbergh wanted back-to-back screenings in its initial limited run." I'll update this when I've seen Che and have an opinion on whether it'd be better separate or together, but for now, I think it'll make the most money being split. Do you plan on seeing either Che or The Hurt Locker in theaters?