It hasn’t been a good year for blockbuster movies in the press. With both “John Carter” and “Battleship” taking losses, “47 Ronin” and “World War Z” going through some very public production troubles and delays, and even “The Lone Ranger” falling off course (after Disney had already delayed the pic to rein in the spending), studios are more wary then ever with their tentpole projects. Not only are they taking their time — Disney put David Fincher on a three-month hold as they consider “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” — but they’re also trying to contain any issues that do crop up. Which brings us to “Fury Road.”
THR reports that George Miller‘s long-awaited return to the world of “Mad Max” is now running five days behind schedule, prompting Warner Bros. to send Denise DiNova to Namibia to oversee the shoot, keep tabs and check in the with the studio on its progress (though she won’t be getting an official producer tag). So is this WB getting ahead of a film that might be veering off course or was this even a story before the trades bit into it? Maybe both, perhaps.
Five days behind schedule on a five-month shoot — which is taking place between July and November — is actually not the end of the world. But it does leave one to wonder why the studio is sending someone now, with filming theoretically nearing the end. Is this situation on the verge of getting worse (or has it already past an acceptable point of no return)? With a budget already set between $100-125 million (and said to be going over), perhaps the studio just wants to make sure any overruns stay within reason, or could the problem be worse that what is being reported? Frankly, it’s anybody’s guess.
But what is clear is that President Jeff Robinov, speaking with the trade about the project, thinks it will finish in time and is treating it as a practical matter — “It’s easier having someone there who has experience and who can keep us posted on the day’s events” — so it seems clear they are trying to control the narrative of how the production plays out. Something Paramount and Universal weren’t able to do with their unwieldy productions.
But with a movie facing what seems to be executive scrutiny at this point, one wonders if there has been a breakdown in communication between Miller and the studio that has warranted someone going there at all. But again, that’s worst-case scenario. For all we know, the story here really is that it’s five days behind, and WB are just making sure “Fury Road” sails smoothly to the end of filming. We’ll see as the next few weeks play out.