Friday, September 21, 2012

Here's hoping Hitchcock

Hitchcock a film about the relationship between Alfred and his wife and collaborator Alma Reville during the making of his classic Psycho, was to be released in 2013, however Fox Searchlight has decided to move it up. It is now scheduled for release November 23. That puts it in the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It also puts it in contention for Oscars.

With the new release date, I am wondering, hoping, that it might end up at the Starz Denver Film Festival. The festival runs from November 1 – 11, so that would make Denver, in my mind ideal to get a film festival preview. We have had major films before, just before they open nationally.

As for Oscar? Well, how about a cast that includes Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as Alma. There is an ongoing fascination with Hitchcock and interest in his films from the 50s and early 60s (Psycho was released in 1960). Earlier this summer Vertigo supplanted Citizen Kane from the top spot in the Sight and Sound poll.

The film, which has only just recently been finished and in the can, is based the book, The Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello. The film is being billed as a 'dramedy' and not just another biopic. I can't imagine Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren in a 'biopic' It would be like calling The Queen with Mirren as QE2 a 'biopic'.

The cast also includes Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Jessica Biel, Michael Stuhlbarg, Ralph Macchio, James D'Arcy and Toni Collette. Cinematography is by Jeff Cronenweth who was Oscar nominated for both The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Fox Searchlight clearly sees an opportunity for this film as we move into awards season next year, which is why they chose to open this year rather than next. But the November release date is probably due the the change in the Academy awards nomination calendar.

A feature film has only to play commercially for a week in both Los Angeles and Manhattan before the end of the year to be eligible for consideration. A lot of films that want Oscar consideration but are not ready for a general release will simply book the film into a theatre in LA and New York sometime in December and be done with it.

However the Academy has changed the calendar. So while the screening requirement has not changed, the process for viewing and then nominating films has. The close of nomination voting has been moved up from January 13 to January 3. That means there is less time for members to see films and vote. Ten days may not seem like a lot but with the sheer volume of film for members to see, it is. The earlier (to a point) that a film is available to members to see, the better chance it has of getting a nomination vote.

While the film will be available to see in theatres in late November, it would be great – and I think another great coup – for the film to screen at the Festival.

Fox Searchlight, which is releasing Hitchcock, also released The Descendants, which screened prior to release at the Denver festival, so as I've said before – Here's Hoping.

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