Archive for August 6th, 2012

Hold the popcorn. Great Gatsby postponed.

Monday, August 6th, 2012

The good news: he grew into his face.

Dinner guest tonight, and an interview to prepare for – but I had to take a moment to relay the awful news. The Great Gatsby, based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, will not be a 2012 Oscar contender.  The release has been postponed to summer 2013, rather than Christmas Day, 2012.

The Huffington Post called it a “shocking bit of news,” but I think they must be rather easily shocked.

“Based on what we’ve seen, Baz Luhrmann’s incredible work is all we anticipated and so much more,” Dan Feldman, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution said in a statement. “We think moviegoers of all ages are going to embrace it, and it makes sense to ensure this unique film reaches the largest audience possible.”

According to HuffPo:

Late-stage release date changes — particularly when there is already a marketing campaign in full swing — almost always raise eyebrows unless there are some extenuating circumstances to consider as well. (Warner Bros. just went through a release date shuffle with “Gangster Squad” following the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo.) On Twitter, prominent Oscar blogger Sasha Stone wondered whether “The Great Gatsby” was subpar.

The article speculates on a number of possible causes – one of them includes the surfeit of other releases on Christmas Day this year, including Les Misérables, which I’ve written about earlier.

I like the new date for another reason: It’s a better match with Gavin Jones‘s Stanford Book Salon presentation on the book in May.  Better a few months early than a few months late, after the buzz has died down.

I include the trailer below.  You’ll note the clip defiantly predicts a Christmas release, still.

What to say?  Music sounds off and distressingly un-period.  As HuffPo commented in May:

The Great Gatsby trailer has arrived with the familiar and era-appropriate tones of the Jay-Z and Kanye West collaboration, “No Church in the Wild.” You crazy for this one, Baz Luhrmann! …

If you needed further proof that this isn’t your father’s “Gatsby,” — beyond the anachronistic music cue, of course — try this on for size: Luhrmann’s film will get released in 3D, since nothing needs an extra dimension like classic 1925 prose.

“I think it will be a spectacle, but not necessarily a good movie,” my daughter concluded, barely looking up from her smartphone.

The most surprising thing is that Leonardo DiCaprio has grown into an interesting face.  Not always a given.

Postscript on 8/8:  Jim Erwin offers the best comment on the soundtrack:  “Umm… The modern music stresses the timelessness of the story…ummm…By using Jay-Z, they underscore the emptiness of quickly acquired and flaunted riches…ummm..nope, it’s rubbish.”