Paramount moves ‘Shutter Island’ to 2010

Posted by · 11:19 am · August 21st, 2009

(from left) Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter IslandThis is a stunning development.  It seems Paramount has decided to move the release date of Martin Scrosese’s “Shutter Island” from October 2009, a mere two months away, to February 2010.  The move reflects a similar last minute decision to move “The Soloist” out of last year’s fall slate to the Spring 2009 frame.  Nikki Finke has the scoop.

The obvious answer here is money.  An awards campaign was certainly in the cards for “Shutter Island,” and those aren’t cheap.  But while “The Soloist” ultimately opened and was revealed as less than Oscar-caliber, Scorsese’s film has been testing really well and was expected to be a big 2009 awards player.

Still, these are tough times.  Everyone’s looking for ways to cut back and deal with the here and now and obviously, an Oscar campaign just didn’t seem fiscally responsible for a studio that will already have two major hopefuls in Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air” and Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones.”

Next year things could be different, and as Finke points out, a February release date didn’t work out too bad for “The Silence of the Lambs,” another thriller, back in 1991.  An insider is quoted as shrewdly noting “Now that the Academy has Best Picture to 10 films…it will be easier for a movie that came out in the beginning of the year to get nominated for Best Picture.”

Regardless, I most certainly wouldn’t look to this as an indication of quality.  And truthfully, anyone who thinks this doesn’t make sound business sense isn’t being honest with themselves and is looking to stir controversy where there is none.  So lighten up on the conspiracy theories.

Chalk it up as one less contender this year.  From a film fan stand-point, it certainly sucks.  The trailer is rather intriguing and the mere thought of Scorsese tackling genre again is exciting.  But we’ll have to wait a little bit longer.

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62 responses so far

  • 1 8-21-2009 at 11:21 pm

    M.Harris said...

    Wow! A Scorsese film being moved back out of prime Oscar time? Academy unfriendly or not.This was a major surprise.

    Even more surprising was that it screened well.And still got moved.I read about the “Silence of The Lambs” comparison but outside of that one movie what in the last twenty years has been nominated that came out in February? That release date is very curious to me.

    If it is as good as the screeners say that it is-why not wait till later in the calender year and release it in Sept-Oct of next fall.

    I’m looking forward to seeing it in February.Big Scorsese and DiCaprio fan.

  • 2 8-22-2009 at 12:13 am

    Johnny Doubles said...

    So, now for a THIRD time, a Martin Scorsese film that many felt was Oscar-bound (at least in a few categories) gets pushed back a year. This shouldn’t come as too big a surprise to those of us who remember the same thing happening to ‘Age of Innocence’ and ‘Gangs of New York’. While this clearly effected ‘Innocence’s’ chances (it certainly would’ve received nominations for BP, director, actor, and probably actress; plus, Winona Ryder could’ve been victorious in the supporting category had the film been released the year it was originally supposed to be). ‘Gangs’, not so much, as it still received 10 noms, including BP and director.

    But, at the same time, I feel there is a major misconception cineastes have about Scorsese in that they feel industry folk share the same esteem for the man as they. Au contrere… In my days as a movie critic and writer (very brief, unfortunately), I covered the Oscars back in ’02. Then, the sources I held within the Academy assured me that Scorsese would NOT win for ‘Gangs’, because he wasn’t particularly beloved by the big brass within Hollywood. Not that they hated the man, they just didn’t care for him. Up until ‘The Aviator’ and ‘The Departed’, he hasn’t made too many people too much money, and while there is nobody who denies his stature, they weren’t ready to just hand him an Oscar simply because he was overdue (of course, this was up until ‘The Departed’, which was by far the most money any film of his had ever made).
    I mention this simply to try to address the confusion goes toward a Scorsese film getting pushed back (as if he holds such a high stature that this would NEVER happen). While this DID seem like a very marketable outing for the man, he’s not a director who dictates when his films are released and how they’re promoted. On time and under budget are NOT Scorsese trademarks, and therefore, he’s not as beloved by the people who fund his movies as those who watch them.

  • 3 8-22-2009 at 4:20 am

    Glenn said...

    This is HARDLY the same scenario as “Gangs of New York”. It’s four months. Hardly an entire year.

    “Here we come, Star Trek nomination!”

    “Inglourious Basterds” and “District 9” probably have better shots than “Star Trek”.

  • 4 8-22-2009 at 7:31 am

    John H. Foote said...

    What a pisser — was among the films I was really looking forward to seeing…February??? Kiss of death, got to wonder why.

  • 5 8-22-2009 at 9:25 am

    Johnny Doubles said...

    No, you’re right. It isn’t the same exact scenario as ‘Gangs of New York’. I was just citing precedence with Scorsese films being pushed back.

    I see this film as one of Scorsese’s more commercial films, and not so much an awards-bait type (of course, I felt the same about ‘The Departed’ before its release, and we all know what happened there). Besides ‘Silence of the Lambs’ as a precedent, there is also ‘Moulin Rouge’, which was pushed back from the heat of awards season in 2000 to spring of 2001. Nobody gave it too much of a shot considering this, and it hit big at nomination time. Here, it seems the studio felt it had a better shot to WIN with the other two movies, and therefore, didn’t want to dillute their chances with a Scorsese film to back as well.

  • 6 8-23-2009 at 10:40 am

    Abby said...

    Eh, I didn’t think this film looked Oscar worthy anyway….it looked good, but not Oscar worthy. More like your run of the mill thriller. Didn’t even seem like a Scorsese film to me.

  • 7 8-26-2009 at 4:20 pm

    Bryan said...

    Could it be that the studios are cutting back on other projects, therefore needing to spread out releases that are already completed or near-completion in order to have a full slate available for next year?

    Just a thought.

  • 8 8-28-2009 at 1:39 pm

    BerkeleyGirl said...

    Love the Ruffalo love here – how about some for Emily Mortimer???

    I’m pretty surprised by this, but also recall the phenomenal testing of “Up in the Air” reported at this site.

    Encore: I fell asleep on “The Soloist.” RDJ was his usual brilliant self but Foxx just tried too hard. (Imagine the great Jeffrey Wright in the role…)

    Johnny Doubles: Sharp comments on Scorsese v. Tinseltown. No surprise, especially after he’s lost to not one but two actor-“directors.”