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Sony Dumps Steven Soderbergh's Moneyball Movie Last Minute!

by
June 21, 2009

Steven Soderbergh - Moneyball

A mere 3 days before that start of production, Columbia Pictures has decided to drop Steven Soderbergh's Moneyball. On Friday, Sony Pictures' Co-Chairman Amy Pascal placed the project into a “limited turnaround,” giving the filmmaker the chance to set it up at another studio, with Warner Brothers and Paramount the prime targets. The move came after Pascal read the final draft delivered last week by Oscar winner Steven Zaillian and found it very different from the earlier scripts she championed. Pascal was uncomfortable with how Soderbergh’s vision had changed and decided to stop the project before it began.

If a new financier doesn’t emerge by the end of today (via Variety), Columbia will re-examine options that include replacing Soderbergh, delaying the film until Pascal and the filmmaker find themselves in "sync" on the script, or simply pulling the plug entirely. Apparently some of Pascal's concerns centered around the lack of traction the film would've had in the international marketplace, because baseball isn't the most popular sport worldwide, and that even with a minimal budget of $50 million, it still wouldn't have been entirely worth it for them. To top that off, Soderbergh was again going to try an experimental visual style.

Soderbergh had already shot actual interviews with real baseball players like Billy Beane's former Mets teammates Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson and Darryl Strawberry that would be interspersed in the film. As we also reported previously, he was going to animate one of the important characters, the "stats guru" Bill James. While Soderbergh was confident that all of that would work visually, Pascal and Columbia were not. He had already cast Brad Pitt and Demetri Martin in the lead roles and was going to use real Oakland A's baseball players to play themselves. To me, this seemed like it could be a hit, at least with US audiences.

This is very unfortunate, as I was looking forward to seeing Steven Soderbergh, of all great directors, bring Moneyball to life. It's definitely a tough adaptation to pull off and Soderbergh seems to be getting more experiemental these days, but I still love him as a director, and I think he would've made one of the most unique adaptations we'd have ever seen. Here's to hoping another studio steps up and gives him a chance!

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  • http://fucku.com fucku
    pff, whatever
  • Xerxex
    Amy Pascal sounds kinda like a mean spirited person. Let me guess she passed it up for another horror movie where some bleach-blonde chick gets her head chopped off while straddling some guy, who has no ambition to become a better actress, and hte killer is some evil guy wiht a hook am I right? or Pascal could be nice I don't know, and I could be overracting...still.
  • Jojo
    It's not about giving him a chance. It's about giving him money. And a $50 million starting point is too much for an "experimental" art film. Soderbergh can shoot anything he wants for $10 million and every studio in the world would bankroll him. $50M is about what the Bourne Identity cost or almost twice as much as the Hangover cost. That is mainstream "blockbuster-wannabe" type money, not edgy indie art type money.
  • PinkSushi
    jst saw his latest, The Girlfriend Experience and suprisingly the lead actress is a famous porn star (sarah grey..)
  • http://themoviemash.com/ Rabs
    What a fucking cunt!
  • xerxex
    well if he wants to be expermental let 'em.
  • germs
    I read one of those earlier scripts, and it was terrible. It was your run of the mill sports movie; nothing against those, but how many do we really need. I'm kinda surprised they dumped a movie with Brad Pitt in it, sounds nuts if you ask me.
  • Cat
    Sony is shit.
  • Timothy
    # 7 Well, according to studio they're dropping it because the new script is different and doesn't fit their vision, which hopefully means it's definitely NOT your run of the mill sports movie, but something much more interesting . . . which made them dump it. Hopefully someone else will pick it up.
  • HollywoodInsider
    This is really shocking!!!! Sony and Amy are making a mistake. This is a great opportunity for other studios. Baseball, Pitt, Soderbergh, athletes, MONEY$$$ Sports movies always sell especially one with Pitt and some real athletes to maintain its authenticity. It doesn't even need to be a blockbuster, it will still make money. Maybe Amy Pascal is only concerned with international sales. I am pretty sure that is went she went to school for. She is side tracked and missing an opportunity. Something smells fishy on Sony and Amy's part. Somebody should just buy the rights of the film from Sony and let independent producers step in.
  • somwerbtwnblungrn
    To #10, Maybe the reason Sony said it "in the international..." was that in today's economics the only way a film could be viable for a company to produce & market is that if people all over the world will be able to watch & appreciate it. Though I doubt with that ensemble cast that it is only worth 50 million? It might not have a good opening in the US, but if it is received well overseas, Sony could recoup its lost or earn more. A perfect example is Cloverfield vs Wolverine Origins (the former well receive in America but did not do that well overseas & the latter not that well received in America, but appreciated overseas). Just a thought ... Peace
  • Cinemassiv
    Smart call by Pascal. Soderbergh is the most overrated director of all time. Did anyone actually see Che?
  • darryl
    Make the movie.... It will be a hit...real sports movie with real players = great for guys.... Brad Pitt in a locker room/shower scene = great for women..... Its a hit stop bickering over pennies and make the movie
  • Sinn
    AHAHAHHAHAHAA!!... baseball's boring anyways.
  • http://facebook.com/moneyballmovie Moneyball Movie
    Join the Moneyball Movie fan page at http://facebook.com/moneyballmovie and follow the movie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/moneyballmovie.

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