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C'MON HOLLYWOOD: Clear off the shelf!

06.16.2011

Shelved. That's what the industry calls it when, for one reason or another, a studio opts not to release one of their films in a timely fashion. The reasons vary. Sometimes, for some reason or other, big chunks of films are tinkered with and re-shot. A famous example of this was the Mel Gibson vehicle, PAYBACK, which was taken away from director Brian Helgeland, and had the last forty minutes completely scrapped. This happens more than we know, with rumours that the recent bomb, JONAH HEX had huge chunks re-shot (with the finished film coming out at a mere 80 minutes- although considering how bad it was, that's probably still too long).

Other times, a film is deemed beyond saving, and winds up with a marginal release, or gets sent straight to Cable/DVD. That happened to two recent Weinstein Company films, KILLSHOT and FANBOYS, with the latter even being partially re-shot, before having that version scrapped as well. The Weinstein's have a bad record with shelving films, with them having dozens of films that collected dust throughout their Miramax reign, and were released en-masse before their exit in 2004. Apparently, they're still up to their old tricks, with their company popping up more than other on the following list.

Currently, there are dozens of films sitting on the shelf, waiting for a release, but what makes this slate unique, is how high-profile, and well pedigreed they seem. More than ever, it seems more of a question of economics -i.e, whether a film can sell - rather than it's quality. The following is a list of film that have wrapped shooting, and are currently gathering dust on a studio shelf.


RED DAWN / CABIN IN THE WOODS : The reason these two films, both of which happen to star Chris Hemsworth, who's arguably A-list now after THOR, are gathering dust is due to MGM's financial difficulties. Word has it that the RED DAWN remake is getting a whole slew of re-shoots to change the villains from the Chinese to the North Koreans, in an effort not to miss out on that all important foreign box-office, which I suppose was not taken into account when this started production. I'm more surprised that CABIN IN THE WOODS, a Joss Whedon production, hasn't yet seen the light of day, with it originally due for release more than a year ago. Even though MGM is back on it's feet, it's still sitting on the shelf, waiting for a release.


LONDON BOULEVARD : Screenwriter William Monahan's directorial debut, which is supposedly a gritty British gangland thriller modelled on films like GET CARTER. Considering the cast (led by Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley) it's strange this hasn't gotten a North American release, or some film festival play. However, it has already been released by Warner Bros in the UK, and bootlegged copies have been floating around the torrent sites for months. JoBlo's own Johnny Moreno cuaght a screening of it at some point, and assured me that it's a winner.

SHANGHAI / THE FACTORY : Not one, but two thrillers starring John Cusack have been shelved, with THE FACTORY having been completed way back in 2008. Considering it's a Dark Castle/ Joel Silver genre film, one would think the film would have made it to the screens at some point even if it happens to be awful. SHANGHAI is even more confounding, with it being a $50 million period piece co-starring Chow Yun-Fat, Gong Li, Ken Watanabe, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, all of whom have an audience. Of course, it also happens to be a Weinstein Company film, so this should not come as too much of a surprise. Like LONDON BOULEVARD, it's also gotten a foreign release (June 2010 in China, where it managed to gross $10 million on the strength of it's A-list Asian cast), and has since made it's way to the torrents. The reviews have been pretty decent.


ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE: Another Weinstein Company film, with them having acquired it back in 2006 after a successful film festival run, including TIFF and SXSW. Reviews have been glowing, and it put Amber Heard on the map, and also launched the career of director Jonathan Levine, who later won the Sundance Grand Jury prize for THE WACKNESS. Like many other films on this list, it's also readily available on torrent sites.

HIPPIE HIPPIE SHAKE: Oscar bait from Working Title films starring Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller, and based on the life of Richard Neville, editor of the Swinging Sixties London magazine OZ. This one went into production way back in 2007, but has not only sat on the shelf, but also lost director Beeban Kidron in the process, who quit and has taken her name off the film. This means that when (if) HIPPIE HIPPIE SHAKE finally does see a release, it may be the first film credited to a pseudonym since SUPERNOVA (Walter Hill- credited as Thomas Lee).

HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION : A gritty prison flick starring, and produced by Mel Gibson. Anyone wonder why this is sitting on the shelf? Gibson's personal problems have left this without a distributor, even though it's already been rated by the BBFC (a promising 18A for Strong Violence), meaning that it's locked.

For my money, all of these films seem worthy of a release. Some of them, like CABIN IN THE WOODS, and RED DAWN, seem very commercial, and could probably be big money makers. Others, like HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION, just need an adventurous distributor. As for the Weinstein titles, there's simply no excuse, especially as far as MANDY LANE is concerned, as by shelving them, they taint the films as damaged goods, or unreleasable, despite loads of evidence to the contrary. A DVD/Blu-ray release at the very least, is a must.

Extra Tidbit: Anyone else know of some promising films sitting on the shelf?
Source: JoBlo.com

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11:22PM on 07/02/2011
Mandy Lane isn't owned by the Weinsteins anymore. They sold the rights to another company, which has since gone bankrupt, leaving the film in a legal limbo. It's unlikely if it can ever be released legally in the US. Also, I'd add that it actually did see a release in Britain (and NZ, if some of the comments here are to be believed), where it was pretty successful, so there's that. A damn shame, too, since I saw it through... certain outlets that shall not be named, and it was
Mandy Lane isn't owned by the Weinsteins anymore. They sold the rights to another company, which has since gone bankrupt, leaving the film in a legal limbo. It's unlikely if it can ever be released legally in the US. Also, I'd add that it actually did see a release in Britain (and NZ, if some of the comments here are to be believed), where it was pretty successful, so there's that. A damn shame, too, since I saw it through... certain outlets that shall not be named, and it was amazing.

Someone also mentioned Trick 'r Treat as a movie that was in limbo. That one I think was just WB being petty, trying to get back at Bryan Singer after the disappointment that was Superman Returns. Smooth move, assholes.
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2:36PM on 06/23/2011
Actually, I believe Cabin In The Woods is currently schedued to be released this October, BTW did you know MGM wanted to convert that film into 3-D, fortuantely their backruptcy forced them cancel it, anyways MGM is stable now, so we'll most likely see REd Dawn and Cabin late this year. Summer Vacation will probably end up getting picked up by Summit or IFC. Mandy Lane is still in legla limbo since it's production company went backrupt, so god knows when will ever see that film. London
Actually, I believe Cabin In The Woods is currently schedued to be released this October, BTW did you know MGM wanted to convert that film into 3-D, fortuantely their backruptcy forced them cancel it, anyways MGM is stable now, so we'll most likely see REd Dawn and Cabin late this year. Summer Vacation will probably end up getting picked up by Summit or IFC. Mandy Lane is still in legla limbo since it's production company went backrupt, so god knows when will ever see that film. London Boulevard sounds great, hope that comes out soon. There's one shelved film you guys forgot to meniton-Iron Cross, Roy Schneider's last film role before his death, sure it got a limited release for a week, but it needs a wide release dammit! That Catherine Zeta Jones/Justin Bartha rom-com The Rebound has also been on the shelf for a few years, it's been released in seemingly every country except the US, ridiculous! One shelved film that's coming next year is the Eddie murphy film A Thousand Words(it was completed in 2008) I don't expect that to be much good.
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12:56PM on 06/22/2011
i saw All the Boys Love Mandy Lane at the fantasia festival in Montreal, fun movie way better then the shit playing at the movies
i saw All the Boys Love Mandy Lane at the fantasia festival in Montreal, fun movie way better then the shit playing at the movies
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5:22PM on 06/17/2011

Netflix

If the studios don't want to distribute these movies to theaters or through DVDs for cost reasons, couldn't they just put the movies on Instant View through Netflix? They can gage the audience with this and decide if it deserves a DVD release.
If the studios don't want to distribute these movies to theaters or through DVDs for cost reasons, couldn't they just put the movies on Instant View through Netflix? They can gage the audience with this and decide if it deserves a DVD release.
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1:20PM on 06/17/2011

Fanboys....

Fanboys got robbed of a theatrical release.
Fanboys got robbed of a theatrical release.
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7:24AM on 06/17/2011
London Boulevard is shit anyway.
London Boulevard is shit anyway.
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1:27AM on 06/17/2011
I think you are overestimating how stable MGM currently is, and econmic reasons are a solid reason to shelve, even if the product has been finished, because you might not be able to market it.

However, in cases like "Mandy Love" (which I saw and loved) and "Shanghai", where the movies were more designed for specific audiences, I wholeheartedly agree.
I think you are overestimating how stable MGM currently is, and econmic reasons are a solid reason to shelve, even if the product has been finished, because you might not be able to market it.

However, in cases like "Mandy Love" (which I saw and loved) and "Shanghai", where the movies were more designed for specific audiences, I wholeheartedly agree.
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11:31PM on 06/16/2011
im not sure about now, but a while back, Trick r' Treat - when it was shelved. that was painful specially because it would have been released during that painfully dry year where there were just crappy movies being released. then they went and put it straight to DVD. - i was lucky enough to catch the last screening of it at the after dark film fest - they really should have put this on the big screen insted of direct dvd.
im not sure about now, but a while back, Trick r' Treat - when it was shelved. that was painful specially because it would have been released during that painfully dry year where there were just crappy movies being released. then they went and put it straight to DVD. - i was lucky enough to catch the last screening of it at the after dark film fest - they really should have put this on the big screen insted of direct dvd.
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-1
8:04PM on 06/16/2011

EXTRA TIDBIT

Ricky 6, wtf is going on with this, fantastic film that needs to get released.
Ricky 6, wtf is going on with this, fantastic film that needs to get released.
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2:26PM on 06/16/2011
Mandy Lane was the funnest slasher movie I've seen in years. Can't believe of every horror movie that sees release this has not been one of them.
Mandy Lane was the funnest slasher movie I've seen in years. Can't believe of every horror movie that sees release this has not been one of them.
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12:51PM on 06/16/2011
And here I thought Mandy Lane already did come out in limited release. Seriously, what is taking that so long?
And here I thought Mandy Lane already did come out in limited release. Seriously, what is taking that so long?
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+12
12:00PM on 06/16/2011

C'MON JOBLO: Enough with the fucking ads

For fuck's sake!
For fuck's sake!
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12:14PM on 06/16/2011
Second. These Dr. Pepper ads have crossed a line.
Second. These Dr. Pepper ads have crossed a line.
11:24AM on 06/16/2011

You say there are no excuses

a few paragraphs after admitting that they're shelved for economic reasons. So there is an excuse, and a good one. I'm so sick of hearing people complain about Hollywood as though it were independantly wealthy and not a neerly struggling industry. Just because you think a movie sounds rad doesn't make it a wise move for the studio. Being profit oriented isn't the same as being greedy to the exclusion merrit.
a few paragraphs after admitting that they're shelved for economic reasons. So there is an excuse, and a good one. I'm so sick of hearing people complain about Hollywood as though it were independantly wealthy and not a neerly struggling industry. Just because you think a movie sounds rad doesn't make it a wise move for the studio. Being profit oriented isn't the same as being greedy to the exclusion merrit.
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11:56AM on 06/16/2011
Fair enough- but these movies are DONE! They've already been made, so what's the point in shelving them? At least give them a DVD/Blu-ray release. If anything, it would help them regain some of the money they sank into the films. SHANGHAI cost $50 million- and it's been on the shelf for 3 years! What's the point?
Fair enough- but these movies are DONE! They've already been made, so what's the point in shelving them? At least give them a DVD/Blu-ray release. If anything, it would help them regain some of the money they sank into the films. SHANGHAI cost $50 million- and it's been on the shelf for 3 years! What's the point?
12:22PM on 06/16/2011
I can't pretend to know the precise details, but I'm positive they're not just arbitrarily throwing investments down the drain. I know that distribution and promotion cost a lot though, and maybe they ought to wait for that BIG movie with Colin Farrell or whomever to come out 9 months from now and count on that much more free promotion. Is all of the shelving totally wise? I doubt it. But I'm positive they have more relevant insight on it than we do. It's OK to be annoyed by it, but it
I can't pretend to know the precise details, but I'm positive they're not just arbitrarily throwing investments down the drain. I know that distribution and promotion cost a lot though, and maybe they ought to wait for that BIG movie with Colin Farrell or whomever to come out 9 months from now and count on that much more free promotion. Is all of the shelving totally wise? I doubt it. But I'm positive they have more relevant insight on it than we do. It's OK to be annoyed by it, but it should stay in perspective imo.
1:52PM on 06/16/2011
Recommendation for a great book regarding what goes on behind the scenes - "The Hollywood Economist, The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies" by Edward Jay Epstein
Recommendation for a great book regarding what goes on behind the scenes - "The Hollywood Economist, The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies" by Edward Jay Epstein
6:54PM on 06/16/2011
That sounds like it'd be worth a look - I'll keep an eye out for it at Borders.
That sounds like it'd be worth a look - I'll keep an eye out for it at Borders.
+2
10:31AM on 06/16/2011

London Boulevard

... is a massive misfire. A really ugly film that's elevated by the cast, and nothing more. Totally agree on Cabin in the Woods though, been waiting to see that for ages.
... is a massive misfire. A really ugly film that's elevated by the cast, and nothing more. Totally agree on Cabin in the Woods though, been waiting to see that for ages.
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10:05AM on 06/16/2011
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane hasn't been released yet? Wow. That is just sad. Where I live, Shanghai had a short theatrical run and couple of months later it hit dvd market. And I think London Boulevard is on dvd right now.
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane hasn't been released yet? Wow. That is just sad. Where I live, Shanghai had a short theatrical run and couple of months later it hit dvd market. And I think London Boulevard is on dvd right now.
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10:00AM on 06/16/2011
I'll never understand why they do this. DOn't they want at least a modicum of money back? The Mandy Lane flick has been out on dvd here in NZ for at least two years.
I'm actually vaguely interested in the Red Dawn remake, just to see how bad it is.
I'll never understand why they do this. DOn't they want at least a modicum of money back? The Mandy Lane flick has been out on dvd here in NZ for at least two years.
I'm actually vaguely interested in the Red Dawn remake, just to see how bad it is.
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