For most people, getting the opportunity to show your movie at TIFF is a blessing, giving your movie a chance to court international press, while screening for enthusiastic audiences and critics from around the globe. Now add in the factor of having Arnold Schwarzenegger in a lead role in a zombie movie, you would think that boost might be helpful rather than a hindrance. But it appears that’s not the case.
With just over a week to go until festivities in Toronto kick off, Lionsgate has snapped up “Maggie,” and though it was originally slated to make its World Premiere at the fest, they’ve decided not to go down that road. So, what’s the deal? Are they afraid critics might go too hard on the movie? Judging by a statement from the studio’s co-chief operating officer and motion picture group president Steve Beeks, “Maggie” is pretty good (and hell, they did acquire it). And surely, this isn’t press release exaggeration:
“ ‘Maggie’ has all the ingredients that spell commercial excitement, from a compelling script and an A-list superstar surrounded by a world-class cast,” he said. “We’re delighted to continue our relationship with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who turns in a performance that marks a dramatic departure from his action persona, and partner with our friends at Lotus Entertainment on a film that will resonate with thriller aficionados everywhere.”
So again, why was it pulled from TIFF? The official line is that since an early 2015 release is planned, and the movie now has the backing of a major distributor, they don’t need the festival buzz. But considering that everything Arnie has made lately outside of his established tentpoles has pretty much flopped (“The Last Stand,” “Escape Plan“), Lionsgate might want to reconsider, especially if this movie — about a father who cares for his daughter as she turns into zombie — is actually decent. [THR]