The Great Pushback (of Dates): Luhrmann's GATSBY Now a Summer Film

Warner BrosWarner Bros. today announced it's plan to push back Baz Luhrmann's 3D spectacle The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo Dicaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Macguire, Isla Fischer, and Joel Edgerton. The film's original release date was set to be Christmas Day (that's December 25th, in case you forgot) of this year. It would have been a very Merry Christmas for Dicaprio fans as Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti-western Djano Unchained would have featured Dicaprio as well. It would have been a double dose of Dicaprio, but Warner Bros. says "no."

Typically that's a bad sign. First of all, it's about to become awards season. Every film opening from September to December is hoping to be considered by the Academy, especially films releasing on Christmas Day. In previous years, many heavy hitting critical favorites have opened on Christmas Day and walked away with some pretty top nominations and/or wins. The decision is a surprising one no less, considering the power of Djano but also that movie about Hobbits, which will undoubtedly rule the box office during December.

Was this a fatal move by Warner? It's unlikely. As I said, it's typically a bad sign. It's an indication that the studio does not have faith in their own production, so they move it to a more reasonable time. For example, take another Dicaprio film - Shutter Island - directed by Martin Scorsese. It was supposed to release in October for 2009, but instead it was pushed to Spring of 2010 due to "marketing reasons." It wasn't necessarily a bad film, it was decent, but the lack of faith that Paramount had in it definitely hurt it's grosses.

But this move is a bit smarter. Warner Bros. is positing The Great Gatsby for a summer 2013 release, taking it from the Oscar race for 2012, but planting it in a double points earning summer season, which is often considered for awards still. It's a methodical positioning, making it eligible for more awards essentially but also a bigger box office and more marketing.

So let's hope the movie doesn't suck.

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