Warner Brothers Overflowing With Too Many Movies - Dumping RocknRolla?

August 14, 2008
Source: LA Times


An interesting dilemma has hit Warner Brothers - they've got too many movies. As everyone probably knows, New Line Cinema caved in under Warner Brothers back in February and Warner Independent Pictures was also scrapped back in May. This shift caused dozens of New Line and Warner Independent films to get swept under the canopy of Warner Brothers and as COO Alan Horn explains, it just became too much. This was initially supposed to be a quiet procedure and Warner Brothers would sell off a few of the films or move them around to fit them in. However, some sources started speaking out about Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla, a film produced by Joel Silver, that was getting shopped around by Silver to other studios. So now the plot thickens and Horn speaks out about the situation - and it doesn't look good for RocknRolla.

It was Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times that investigated deeper into this story. He explains that "as Warners goes through the arduous process of absorbing two dozen or so New Line films into its distribution system, the studio simply has too many movies to release, so it's starting to pick out the weak calves from the herd." And RocknRolla is one of the big ones being herded out. Here's where we get down to the nitty-gritty of it all. Alan Horn explains his reasoning behind their dilemma. "I think it's a well-made picture, but while it's funny in spots, it's very English. I don't think it's broadly commercial. It feels like a film that deserves a spirited release, but not a wide one. Joel has an 800-screen deal, which we'll honor, but we might not be willing to spend the marketing money he wants us to."

While I'm not a studio executive with years of experience, I've always thought some of the decisions studios have made to give up hope on particular films have been idiotic, to say the least. Children of Men is one of the best examples of a film that was drowned by the studio. While I think RocknRolla looks great, I'm not so confident about its mainstream attraction. Obviously Joel Silver wants to make sure RocknRolla gets the attention it deserves. Horn adds: "For now, we're preparing to release the film in October, but I don't see it starting out on 800 screens. If Joel is thinking there is someone out there willing to spend twice as much money as we're willing to, I'm sure he will pursue that." That would explain Silver's recent screenings with Sony and Lionsgate, two distributors that would potentially be able to handle the film a bit better.

Beyond RocknRolla, two other notable films are also being kicked out: Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire and Gavin O'Connor's Pride and Glory. We just debuted a new trailer for Pride and Glory last week, originally a New Line film, and at the time Warner Brothers announced a new release date - October 24th. However, it sounds like both films are being dumped off to another studio because, as we've already outlined, Warners doesn't want to deal with them anymore in the midst of their already full fall line-up. Obviously Warner Brothers is a business and Alan Horn is making the best decisions for the good of the company, but it's still rather alarming to hear about this whole dilemma.

I've been saying quite a bit recently that Warner Brothers is one of the best studios in Hollywood alongside of Paramount. Not only are most of their films always top notch, but their marketing and publicity teams are the best. On one hand, I'm impressed that they literally have too many good movies that they can't distribute all of them. And the good side of this is that instead of completely scrapping them for a straight-to-DVD release, they're respecting their potential and hoping they'll be better suited elsewhere. However, on the other hand, it's sad to see such respectable films be completely shrugged off (literally) by a studio. I would love to see RocknRolla get a big marketing push like it deserves, so if Warners can't do it, just move it elsewhere. Head over to the Los Angeles Times to read Patrick's full article.

Find more posts: Editorial, Movie News, Opinions



Fuck i hope not!!!

REAL6 on Aug 14, 2008


My friends and I have been waiting eagerly for this Ritchie-Butler film. Please, WB, reconsider. And If WB won't budge, all the best to you, Mr. Silver, in finding someone else to do it better so we can see it in a really good local theater. "Too English"? Let's make a list of solid box office hits that were "too English." You underestimate your audience, Mr. Horn.

Gillian Fey on Aug 14, 2008


Welcome to the new studio system. Hope everyone likes shit sandwiches becuse there are plenty to go around. If it's too edgy, too 'British', subtitled, or hard to sell--bye-bye. Let's put some pieces together. The studios are collapseing indie units or buying them up into their system. Tom Curise, reportedly, was told that he would not be in an Mi:4 becuse he is too old and expensive. Now Warner is dumping films by Guy Ritchie and Danny Boyle. They're hacking costs. Big stars are going to be cast less and less for cheaper talent in order to increase profits. And what are we going to get? I can bet that the cost of going to the movies isn't going to go down. We'll get more and more of the same movie. We'll get less and less quality. We'll get screwed. Let's hope Lions Gate gets back into releaseing more than cheapie horror soon. Maybe UA can save the day like it did in the 1950s. Maybe some new player will come along. Until then, things look bad for movie fans.

goudos on Aug 14, 2008


Interesting considering myspace is currently plastered in adverts promoting the film with the release date Sept5th

Stuart Mellor on Aug 14, 2008


how can you have too many good films???????? They can't spare a dime for a little bit of marketing?

Buttons on Aug 14, 2008


well in rocknrolla's case, i don't think alan horn feels indebted to joel silver after the domestic box office gross of speed racer and the money they lost so he doesn't have much faith in him after that. but as for pride and glory, i've been highly anticipating that movie for over a year now and im tired of its numerous delays so i'll be pissed if something else happens now that it was finally set for a release date in october AFTER it was pushed back to 2009.

john on Aug 14, 2008


Okay they are willing to scrap RocknRolla but they let films like College, House Bunny, Diaster Movie out like there going to be amazing, Come on.

Xerxex on Aug 14, 2008


Ritchie really has some shitty luck. Hopefully the large cast will bring it back though as well as his upcoming SHERLOCK HOLMES to boost his credibility. This is VERY intresting.

Ryan on Aug 14, 2008


I'm an Aussie but I adore the gritty Ritchie style films.... It's a shame that the studios think people are so narrow minded towards what they want to watch.

Merc on Sep 7, 2008


nice nice one!

tom pick on May 22, 2009

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