It seems John Hillcoat's curse with The Weinstein Company continues. As you might remember, the solid, though not particularly audience friendly "The Road" was hemmed and hawed over by the studio, before getting a weakly promoted limited release that it saw it open in just over 100 theaters on its first weekend and never reach more than 400. Is the same fate about to happen to "The Wettest County"? God, we hope not, but the signs aren't not looking good.
Initially picked up and promised for a release by the end of 2011, "The Wettest County" was bumped last year to still promising spring date of April 20th. But, BoxOfficeMojo now reveals that The Weinstein Company will release the star-studded "The Wettest County" into theaters on August 31st. Why is this bad news? That weekend is considered one of the slowest of the year, and generally a dumping ground for stuff the studio doesn't have much faith in. For example, last Labor Day, "The Help" managed to beat out all the competition in its third week of release, topping a weak slate of new release that included "Shark Night 3D," "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy" and Weinstein's own "Apollo 18" (via Dimension Films). See what we mean?
Our only glimmer of hope is that the Venice Film Festival kicks off on August 29th, and maybe the film (which we've heard positive word about from test screenings) is entering the fall festival fray and the Weinsteins want to get it out in front first with a premiere in Italy followed by a swift release into theaters (not unlike what Warner Bros. did in 2011 with "Contagion"). It certainly has the kind of starry cast a festival would love to have — Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska — and perhaps the Weinsteins also want to benefit from any residual post-Hardy/"The Dark Knight Rises" love. So is it headed to the awards season or are the Weinsteins becoming wary of pushing too hard on a movie in a genre (western, of sorts) that traditionally doesn't do very well?
Guess, we'll see how this plays out, but let's hope this movie gets the treatment it deserves. For now, the wait continues.