January 08, 2007
The Botched Releases

Every year certain films are killed by poor release strategies. "Little Children," for one, was admittedly always a tough sell, but it should have expanded far earlier than it did if it wanted to gain more substantial awards and box office traction. "The Painted Veil," on the other hand, was simply released far too late to garner traction, getting lost in the Christmas overkill.

What other 2006 efforts do you feel were mishandled?


Contender or not, how about the travesty that was the release of Idiocracy?

I think Letters from Iwo Jima is a prime example. I think it would have been in a far better position if they had just waited to release it in, say, November next year, as opposed to the last second of this year.

Bobby should have had a slower expansion instead of going wide so early.

Children of Men's limited death release on Xmas day, then relatively low expansion at 1,2000 odd. There was plenty of critical buzz for the film to go wide straight-up, in a better slot prior to Xmas. Why would it not do just as well as turgid The Good Shepard? Now it might struggle.

Children of Men duh! and Universal giving its support to one of the most dissapointing films of 2006: The Good Shepherd...

I also thought Picturehouse did a terrible job with both Pan's Labyrinth & A Prairie Home Companion

In all fairness to "Iwo Jima," it was decided to go the 2006 route way too late to release it at any other time.

I think Children of Men, Little Children, and Iwo Jima come to mind as recent examples of mishandled openings.

Here are two other examples that you may or may not agree with:

1. PoTC: At World's End - We'll see next summer I suppose but I think Disney may have made a mistake by not pushing this for release this winter, with no Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/Narnia flicks in sight. Next summer is chock full of "can't miss" family entertainment.

2. Superman Returns - I think this movie drowned in its own bad press, not from critics but from media reports about its bloated budget, which probably heightened expectations. For me, this was a highly successful and deeply serious, classy, and soulful take on the world's most famous superhero, in what could have been a campy mess. But it cost $300 million or whatever, so people expected more.

I think Letters from Iwo Jima and Little Children were handled as well as can be expected for what the films were. Letters needed more time, but Little Children wasn't going anywhere with non cineastes/critics.

Children of Men was viciously botched though. they bumped it from October to December to give it a 'legitimate' shot at oscar. and it ended up coming out so late that no one saw it, or by the time they saw it most ballots were in.

Almost the same situation for Painted Veil. There's no time for non frontrunners to release in December anymore.

Perfume wasn't so much botched as it's an impossible movie to slot. it's the sort of wacky film, like Brotherhood of the Wolf, that'll never have wide appeal but needs a lot of time and word of mouth to build its audience and success. and that just doesn't happen in America anymore, outside of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Best handled releases of the year would be Rocky, Night at the Museum, Dreamgirls, Queen, Little Miss Sunshine.

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