Yes, that’s right ladies. Michael Fassbender‘s dong guest stars in Steve McQueen‘s “Shame.” It’s his very member, along with some pretty graphic sex scenes, that will determine whether or not you’ll be seeing this movie at a theater near you.
While reviews out of Venice, Telluride and TIFF have been very good for “Shame,” most wondered how on Earth the film would get any kind of theatrical release. The film opens with Fassbender walking around his apartment naked with what God gave him swinging to and fro, and unless they went with some kind of “Storytelling“-esque black box or maybe more kind of pixel blurring effect, aside from some major cuts not only to that sequence, but to a handful of sex scenes, there is really no way “Shame” was going to theaters with anything less than an NC-17 rating. When Fox Searchlight picked up the movie at TIFF they assured folks that they would be making no edits to the movie, and they expect the movie to earn that notorious rating.
Well, they are staying true to their word, giving the film a limited release starting on December 2nd. But the bigger question is, how they are going to market the film. In addition to severely limiting the number of theaters the movie can play (many multiplexes will not show NC-17 rated movies), advertising will also be a challenge. Some traditional outlets refuse to run ads for NC-17 movies, so you can expect a heavy web campaign for the picture. But all this being said, the subject matter of the film was never going to make this movie a potential breakout hit like “Black Swan” anyway. It’s a tonally assured, masterfully performed piece from both director and actor, but it is a brutal, draining experience about emotional toll of sex addiction. It’s a sex movie that’s not sexy in the slightest. Its appeal was always going to be limited, but at least Fox Searchlight can hopefully get some additional shine on it by drawing up some awards heat around Fassbender.
“Shame” will battling it out with “We Need To Talk About Kevin” and Takeshi Kitano‘s “Outrage” for your arthouse dollar that weekend, that surprisingly has nothing going into wide release (yet). [BoxOfficeMojo]