There is still a lot of time for things to play out in the awards season race, but often there are indicators as to how far (or not) a film will go. While on paper, two-time Best Foreign Film nominee Zhang Yimou directing Christian Bale in a period piece war movie seems like a no-brainer, “The Flowers Of War” has taken quite a long time to secure distribution. Perhaps that melodramatic trailer should have been a warning sign? And no knock to upstarts Wrekin Hill, who are new players in the game, but word of their taking on the film doesn’t exactly bode well for ‘War’ to be a major force in the next few months.
It’s in the midst of being signed and sealed, but THR reports that Wrekin Hill are putting the final details in place to acquire the U.S. rights to the “Flowers Of War.” The English and Mandarin language film, an expensive $90 million effort, is China’s official entry for Best Foreign Film and now that it has a U.S. distributor, it can contend in other categories as well. The plan right now is for the film to get its award qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles before the year is out with a wider rollout slated for the early part of 2012. But can Wrekin Hill get the film the juice it needs to be a player?
It certainly won’t hurt to have Batman himself stumping for the movie and the story — about an American trapped in China as the Japanese Imperial Army invades in 1937, and how he uses a disguise as a priest to not only save his own life, but those of a group of prostitutes hiding out in an all girls school — seems like perfect awards bait. But so far, their only release to date has been this summer’s “Hesher” which they promoted very strongly, even if the numbers didn’t match the effort. But going whole hog into an arena with seasoned vets like Harvey Weinstein throwing their weight around is a challenge, and we’ll be curious to see how it all goes down.
No firm dates yet, but more is likely to come, and fast, as 2011 is quickly winding down.