Studios could care less about Terry Gilliam’s ‘Parnassus’

Posted by · 1:19 pm · August 18th, 2008

Terry GilliamNick Plowman points us today to a Hollywood Reporter story (and really, we needed the heads up in this case…anyone reading THR anymore?) painting director Terry Gilliam’s latest film as a “tough sell.”

Of course, the film in question, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” contains Heath Ledger’s swan song performance.

Here’s the Reporter’s Steven Zeitchik:

For U.S. distributors, the quirky Terry Gilliam film — centering on parallel worlds, a theater troupe and a devil-dealing 1,000-year-old doctor — presents a conundrum. On the one hand, it’s a chance for the history-making opportunity — not to mention a marketing coup — of releasing Ledger’s last movie.

But it also comes with challenges that lately have followed the stubbornly noncommercial Gilliam. The director has been behind a series of boxoffice flops and hasn’t had a hit since “Twelve Monkeys” in 1995. Buyers who might otherwise be willing to shell out for a Ledger film are holding back.

“In this market, unless I have a reason to think a movie like this is going to be a slam dunk I’m not going to take a flyer on it, even with Heath Ledger,” one distribution executive said. One specialty exec added few execs at his company had been tracking it.

And Plowman’s sharp reply:

Whenever a Terry Gilliam film is released, it’s a risky affair. They are never quite box-office or critical hits, and even the supernatural would rather he stayed away from the medium of film as well. He hasn’t had a hit since 1995…

And you know what?  So be it.  Penance for Gilliam’s asinine comments from last month if you ask me.  Ledger lives on in infamy with “The Dark Knight.”  Given Gilliam’s track record as of late, “Parnassus” could be a blight on that legacy.

→ 12 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

12 responses so far

  • 1 8-18-2008 at 2:10 pm

    Cinematically Correct said...

    Like I said on Nick’s site, if I could put the cash together to pick this movie up, I would do it. The fact that you can stick the names Depp, Law, Farrell, & Ledger on one movie poster should make this a bit commercially viable right?

  • 2 8-18-2008 at 6:08 pm

    Roman said...

    This is a case of a non-report on a non-story. Yes, bla bla, Parnassus is a tough sell, bla bla. We all already knew this, didn’t we?

    All of this is meaningless until the distributors actually see the footage. For now, I would have called it glibness if I didn’t think it was wishful thinking.

    You could have just as easily wrote “Studios could care less about Heath Ledger’s ‘Parnassus’”.

  • 3 8-18-2008 at 6:09 pm

    Chad said...

    The studios and I are in agreement on this one. Loved Ledger in Brokeback and Batman but I couldn’t care less about anything Gilliam does these days.

  • 4 8-18-2008 at 6:27 pm

    Neel Mehta said...

    I was just thinking about this movie last weekend. I don’t know its stage of completion at this point, but I think it should never be released.

    Sure, if some distributor picks it up and releases it in theaters, it might make money, probably more than any other Gilliam film. But keep it under wraps, and it becomes industry legend.

    Under these circumstances, I’d much rather go with mysterious legacy than problematic career footnote.

  • 5 8-18-2008 at 6:45 pm

    Troy said...

    Hasn’t had a hit since 12 Monkeys? I’d call Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas a hit, and he has only made two other movies since then. Plus, he wrote this movie with the guy who he wrote Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen with, which might be his two best movies. That, plus a pretty good cast, gives me very little reason to believe that this will flop.

  • 6 8-18-2008 at 7:34 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Ledger hasn’t made a habit of making films no one cares about while being a studio pain in the ass Roman.

  • 7 8-18-2008 at 7:49 pm

    Roman said...

    Oh, really? I’m sure the likes of Candy, the Sin Eater and Casanova left the studios ecstatic.

    People care about Gilliam, Tapley. You are biased and it’s too obvious.

    And since when being a studio pain in the ass has become a bad thing, anyway ;) .

  • 8 8-18-2008 at 8:02 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Clearly you misunderstand being a “studio pain in the ass” if those are the examples you choose. I’m not biased against Gilliam no matter how bad you want me to be, Roman. I love many of his films, but I certainly won’t miss a chance to chastise ignorant anti-studio comments.

    By the way, how about those “Dark Knight” legs? I guess it didn’t need a “Spider-Man fan base” after all…

  • 9 8-18-2008 at 8:29 pm

    Troy said...

    Go ahead and chastise Gilliam for making such comments, it just seems silly (or to Roman, biased) to suggest that Parnassus will potentially tarnish Ledger’s legacy at this point because of Gilliam’s recent track record (which, as I pointed out a few posts earlier, is quite exaggerated).

  • 10 8-18-2008 at 9:57 pm

    BobMcBob said...

    Don’t you mean “studios COULDN”T care less about Terry Gilliam’s ‘Parnassus’”?

  • 11 8-18-2008 at 10:54 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Strangely interchangeable phrase – always has been.

  • 12 8-19-2008 at 6:37 pm

    Sherry said...

    How is Gilliam tje bad guy? He’s an uber-genius, who deserves a lifetime pass on the strength of 12 Monkeys, alone. That he also has the likes of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen to his credit, only compound this.