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Viggo Mortensen's The Road Might Not Make its 2008 Debut

by
October 16, 2008

The Road

This is no longer just a rumor - Viggo Mortensen's film The Road is apparently going to be delayed. We've had the film listed for November 14th on our Release Schedule since the beginning of the year. Back in May we got our first glimpse of what it would look like, but since then, we haven't seen or heard much else. This potential release date shift comes right after Harvey Weinstein moved up the released of Stephen Daldry's The Reader to early December. Add to that the consideration that the film apparently isn't entirely done and ready yet, and it seemingly makes some sense to move it to 2009 instead. Or does it?

To me, this seems like a textbook example of idiotic Hollywood marketing decisions. Why is The Reader's release date change affecting The Road at all? Well, I'm guessing that The Weinstein Company can't handle Oscar season marketing on two movies at once, even though they'd be three or four weeks apart. I can't speak for film's preparedness and if it is indeed ready or not, but I don't think it has heavy CGI work and it did shoot much earlier this year. What can speak for is the fact that The Road already has a lot of early buzz whereas The Reader does not. In fact, I hadn't even heard of The Reader until a few weeks ago. So why are they moving The Road when to me it seems like it would make more money than The Reader?

Executives from Weinstein are meeting with producers on Thursday to discuss whether or not they can move it to 2009, since I'm sure the produces expected all along that The Road would be an Oscar contender. My suggestion - don't move it at all! If I were Harvey Weinstein (and don't we all wish that), I'd dump The Reader in February next year. A boring romantic drama starring Kate Winslet and directed by the guy who made Billy Elliot and The Hours? Doesn't sound like a sleeper hit to me at all. Doesn't even sound like an Oscar contender. And if Winslet is eventually nominated for an Oscar, it'll probably be for Revolutionary Road more than anything else. So why risk screwing over a potential hit for a boring drama?

The Road is tentatively scheduled for release sometime in December, but we'll be plenty hearing more after the meeting on Thursday. The film is directed by John Hillcoat and based on Cormac McCarthy's book of the same name. We'll be sure to let you know what date they do settle on. This just goes to further prove why The Weinstein Company is quickly becoming one of the worst distributors in Hollywood.

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  • Jessica
    You make it so profoundly evident that you don't have the slightest clue of what The Reader is about if you call it a boring romantic drama! Do us all a favor and study the plot before you decide to declare your dislikes regarding the film.
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
    Study the plot? A synopsis doesn't necessarily prove that it's not a boring romantic drama??
  • Reason
    ...and "The Most stupid post of the Day" - Award goes to Mr. Billington! Congratulations!
  • Sunny
    I suspect The Road might be moved because of it's grim, depressing subject matter. Look at what happened to Body Of Lies. It should have had a much larger box office, in normal times, but these are not normal times. The Road was a grim though excellent read... and while I have hopes for a fine film adaptation, am weary of gloom and doom. People are less likely than ever to embrace a apocalyptic film about the end of life as we know it. At $12 a ticket, $5 for a small popcorn... I don't really need to spend my limited entertainment allowance on a film that is bound to make me feel even more depressed about the state of our world and it's future.
  • REAL6
    Damn man, i wanted to see everyone in the movie to say: "Ay yo, ITS OMAR!!!!!!!!!!" dAMN NOW I GOT TO WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR.
  • Jessica
    Alex Billington, I was saying that that in order to make you comprehend how loosely and redundant you have based your statement. If you read the synopsis, or the book for the sake of the full interpretation of this story and its meaning, you would indeed be evidently aware of that this is beyond the romantic drama genre. In sharp contrast it battles and gives insight to some of the most difficult questions we can possibly ask ourselves. This holocaust masterpiece is about nazi guilt and the relationships of pre- and post-war generations. If you read the book you would know the symbolism of Hanna and Michael's relationship and its relation to what I have just stated. However, I have to pay my compliments to you for correcting the mistake I pointed out in your article.
  • Adam
    Reason, I don't see how you can make a post like that without providing some content of your own. I don't know enough about Hollywood to know if profits matter more than awards, though I'd wager they do. Chances are the Weinstein company made a better choice with the Kate Winslet "romantic comedy" [sorry to use the wrong terminology, Jessica] if only because they seem to be in a precarious financial situation. What Sunny said was true, people aren't going to want to watch a movie about a bleak post-apocalyptic future when they could be enjoying their holiday season. People want something light, and I think this has been proven enough times that linking evidence isn't necessary. Hopefully The Reader will turn a good enough profit to help the WC out though. also Ay yo, IT'S OMAR!!!
  • tyler wilson
    it should stay where it is at, anything with viggo and not kate winslet would be a much better watch regardless the content of the movie, especially if the reader is a romantic drama. people can handle dark and grim if the story is good and the acting impeccable. and romantics are just romantics if we wanted that we would go see nights at raodanthe.
  • Jessica
    Adam, I hope you are NOT trying to indicate that The Reader is a movie with an enjoyable theme, because that would probably be the biggest misapprehension one could ever make. If you read my second post I stated that The Reader's topic regards post-war shame. I sincerely hope you don't consider that as light.
  • tzarinna
    So, I'm sensing an Atonement vibe here. Maybe a little less on the romantic side all in all. Anyway, I've been looking forward to The Road. I guess I'll have to wait.
  • Lincoln
    Sure, a plot synopsis doesn't prove it's not a boring romantic drama, but if you looked at the pedigree of people involved, both the late Syndney Pollack and the late Anthony Minghella, maybe you could give it a little more respect. Of course, I'm definitely looking forward to the Road, as I read the book and I saw the Proposition, it's easy to see how that movie is most likely going to blow everyone away. Maybe it just had more to do with marketing two dour and depressing epics in the same month and two films that will likely be in direct competition with eachother. Also consider the fact that because Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack both worked on the "Reader" and recently died, it's timely and respectful to give their film the shot at being a surefire hit and reaping critical awards. Of course, this isn't truly fair or in the nature of good sportsmanship, but this is the way Hollywood thinks, I'm afraid. The filmmakers behind the Reader have the friends in high places, while John Hillcoat is an untested Sophomore filmmaker, regardless of his skill, he has no proven American or International hits.
  • tyler ford
    I am very excited about The Road, especially since Viggo Mortenson says it is his best performance to date. I do agree with Sunny, while many people are in a living in fear over the possibility of a bleak future, they are far less likely to embrace a film that plays into that fear. This was never going to be a film that was a box office smash but it does need to recoup its budget and it does need to get some audience attention for an Oscar win. Moving it is not a great idea in my opinion because it will have very little to no chance at the oscars with an early 09 release. The producers will probably fight for it, perhaps a late december release to make the deadline. As for The Reader, I went and read the synopsis, and it sounds like the exact type of film Oscar loves. I did not even need to bother reading it though, since you mentioned that Stephen Daldry is directing and the only two feature films he directed (Billy Elliot and The Hours) were nominated for and won Academy Awards. It would seem only fair to assume this trend will continue, and at this point Harvey Weinstien has seen at least a rough cut, and nobody knows what movies to market for the Oscar's better than him.
  • http://movieguyreviews4u.blogspot.com Ryan
    Alex, I agree you are wrong about THE READER here with it's high pedigree. I think THE READER has great of a chance as THE ROAD does at the Oscars AND a higher box office potential. However, I think THE ROAD IS an Oscar film and will be the only time it would make any sort of amount of money.
  • Reason
    Dear Adam (#8), I just thought a simplistic and harsh comment would be fitting for an op/ed piece of the same kind.
  • jerry
    there most definitely is a surprisingly large amount of visual effects work.
  • john of sparta
    straight to video.
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
    I'm amazed that there is so much opposition to this Reader movie? I'm utterly confused, because until last week, I didn't even know it existed! There are others who have reported this news that have voiced my same exact opinion - The Road has so much more buzz. I'm not trying to condemn either movie, Jessica, because in the end both of them could be great flicks. But I think The Road has much more potential in the November slot than Reader and the Weinstein's are idiots if they don't see that! Do some research around the web, it's not hard to see that no one even KNOWS about The Reader...
  • Jessica
    Do some research around the web and realise that YOU are the one who have been sleeping under a rock, Alex. However, I can't make you see when you so desperately want to stay blind.
  • Cyryus
    I've been reading The Road, and so far I've got about 40 pages of pure exposition. McCormac does a nice job with the imagery and setting, but the dynamic between the father and son is weak and lacking to me. Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. That's how you develop emotion between characters whose actions are limited to...um...sleeping and walking. In my humble opinion, it's going to take an on-screen depiction, something visual with--hopefully--more dialogue to bring this story to life. Pulitzer Prize? For this work? Wow. Cyryus
  • ravenchortle
    I just finished reading The Road, and all I could do afterward was sit and stare, blinking. It has been some time since I have read a work so moving. Not sure how Cyrus (above) could possibly feel that, "...the dynamic between the father and son is weak and lacking..." In such a setting, in such a time, the lack of dialogue was powerful and complimented the bleakness, the bare-bone-essentials of what life and survival and love and being a father could be like in such a setting, in such a time. Every movement, every word, every drop of fuel, of water, every scrap of food, every bullet important. Nothing to be wasted. Lean fiction. I knew the boy's age. I knew the boy. I new the man. I am very excited to learn that Viggo is playing this role in the film. I cannot think of a more perfect actor for the role. As Viggo played a perfect Elessar, I am confident he will play the perfect "The Man" in this film. I am filled with anticipation, and still haunted by the written story. If you haven't read it, read it. And I'll third: Ay yo, IT'S OMAR!!!

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