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This movie's so good they've cancelled the wide release

Posted by: James Lileks under Hollywood Updated: October 20, 2011 - 12:50 PM

 

Nothing unusual here, it’s all part of a brilliant strategy. The Wrap reports:

 

Nine days before it was scheduled to release "Anonymous" to thousands of movie theaters across the country, Sony will begin the movie's run in only 250 theaters, TheWrap has confirmed.

 

Pre-release audience surveys for the Roland Emmerich Shakespeare drama have been soft. According to a report released by research firm NRG Monday, total awareness of the movie from its strongest moviegoer demo, women younger than 25, is only 37 percent.

"We believe a gradual rollout is the best way for audiences to discover, embrace and champion the movie through the holiday season," an individual close to the project told TheWrap.

Nothing like a soft pre-release reaction to spoil everything, but they’re probably right. A gradual rollout, that’s the idea. Why don’t more movie companies think of this? This is an incredible movie, absolute dynamite - why, it’s like the “King’s Speech,” which was also set in England - but softly, softly. Let’s not spoil the moment by putting it out there all at once. Let it build, so the people in the second-tier cities are begging for it.

Maybe the problem is the title. People think it’s about nerds in leering plastic Guy Fawkes masks who hack big computer systems to quench their adolescent conception of global justice, or something. It’s really about the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays, which were written by a fellow named “William Shakespeare,” unless you’re an Oxfordian, in which case you think the Earl of Oxford wrote them. So this movie is the Oxfordian version of “JFK,” but because we know much less about the era, the ratio of falsehoods-to-words is naturally lower. In any case, it -

Hold on. Skimmed right past this: Roland Emmerich? Really? Mr." 2012"? Now you’re wondering if the Globe theater explodes in spectacular fashion, not as far as I know. It’s gathered a few good reviews, and one critic said it’s difficult to believe Emmerich had anything to do with it.

BECAUSE HE DIDN’T. It was really directed by someone else, don’t you see? That’s the brilliant, devious message. People will be arguing about this film’s true director in 500 years. Why, something this literate couldn’t possibly be done by a schlock-merchant like Emmerich. It must be the work of someone with much more experience - like this fellow.

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