Sunday, August 14, 2005


Another potshot at Miramax

The Great Raid takes in less than $4 million at the box office this weekend. I don’t know why I’m reporting this. I just thought that it was interesting for a number of reasons.

Miramax had this war film on its shelves for a couple of years, and I guess they thought, “Hey! Now might be a good time to toss this one out into the market!” It’s a slaughterhouse out there--The Island was killed, as was Stealth, Bad News Bears and to some minor degree, The Devil’s Rejects. Now, Four Brothers, Deuce Bigalow, March of the Penguins, The Dukes of Hazzard and The Skeleton Key might not seem like much competition but The Great Raid is not a tentpole picture. Sure, it’s a war film based (mostly) on the famous raid on the Japanese POW camp at Cabanatuan in which 500 U.S. soldiers were rescued from certain death, but you don’t run into people on the street who ask each other, “Are you gonna see The Great Raid? I am!”

This is yet another example of a studio’s ineptitude--when it comes to generating genuine hype for their films. To begin with, it doesn’t help that The Great Raid had completed production in 2002 and collected dust on the shelves of Miramax since then, up until a week or two ago. And now that the Weinsteins are packing up and forming another new company, The Weinstein Co., they are apparently giving all the stuff they had on their shelves for the past couple of years half-assed releases. These are films, like The Warrior and Prozac Nation, of indisputable quality--films that could garner potential Oscar nominations and yet, well, they are getting the figurative stick up their collective asses. It’s a waste of my time and yours to bemoan this. Suffice it to say that Peter Biskind has enough new material to write a sequel to his book on the Weinstein Co., Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film.

I haven’t the foggiest idea as to what he could call this sequel, but whatever it may be, it will be just as provocative and controversial as the last title for his last book.

Postscript: Some material for this post taken from Roger Ebert’s review of The Great Raid.


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