Telluride: Weinstein to sneak 'Salinger' after pulling 'Philomena' at the last minute

Posted by · 2:42 pm · August 30th, 2013

TELLURIDE, Colo. – All of town is abuzz today with the official revelation of two “sneak preview” screenings set for tonight: Denis Villeneuve’s “Prisoners” and Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave.” But everyone has been curious what the third would be, if indeed there would be a third.

Well, wonder no more as Deadline is reporting that Shane Salerno’s documentary “Salinger” has grabbed a “surprise late entry” to the lineup. If true, it’s an interesting turn of events, given how things were apparently supposed to shake out originally.

I’ve been told that The Weinstein Company had Stephen Frears’ “Philomena” all lined up for a sneak preview on Monday, fresh off its Venice bow tomorrow. But I’m told this didn’t sit well with programmers at the Toronto Film Festival incensed that yet another of their big North American debuts was going to drop here.

“12 Years a Slave” and “Prisoners” are both set for Toronto next week, while the former was programmed by the Film Society of Lincoln Center for a U.S. premiere at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 8. As soon as confirmation that McQueen’s film would be unveiling here, a press release hit the wires announcing this “official” premiere.

But Toronto, particularly after having its “Argo” thunder stolen last year, has apparently become more and more unsettled by Telluride sneaks. Indeed, the only film set for a gala premiere at Toronto that’s on the Telluride lineup this year is Ritesh Batra’s “The Lunchbox.” With films like “Labor Day,” “Under the Skin,” “Gravity” and “The Invisible Woman” popping up here first, in addition to McQueen and Villeneuve’s entries, perhaps “Philomena” was the last straw? And perhaps that’s why The Weinstein Company has gone with “Salinger” instead (which, after all, opens a mere week from today)?

Oh the drama of the fall festival circuit.

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