Hmmmmm... You think 12 Years A Slave might have had had something with this? I mean, Paramount deciding to release Steven Spielberg’s Amistad on blu-ray? I can’t be the only one thinking that.
Especially since, a few months ago, there were news articles that Paramount actually considered threatening Brad Pitt and his production company Plan B with a lawsuit for breach of contract since Plan B had a “first look” option with the studio, which means what it says: that Paramount had the exclusive right to first look at and decide on any project Pitt and Plan B were developing before anyone else could look at it.
But the production company instead bypassed Paramount, and took the property to Arnon Milchan’s Regency Enterprises, who financed most of the film, which was distributed domestically by Fox Seachlight, and overseas in several territories by Lionsgate/ Summit.
According to one source, the studio’s lawyers "wanted to sue but (Paramount CEO) Brad Grey stopped it because of his friendship with Pitt, his respect for Steve McQueen and out of respect for their movie.”
So maybe Paramount started thinking about how they could capitalize on the slave trade, in a manner of speaking, and decided that Spielberg’s 1997 film was ripe for a brand new Blu-ray remastering.
However, Amistad, which starred Morgan Freeman, Djimon Hounsou, Anthony Hopkins, Matthew McConaughey, and a very young Chiwetel Ejiofor in what was then his second ever film role, was basically seen as a major disappointment by the critics, the audience and at the box office.
Basically, by concentrating on the courtroom drama involving Cinque, who led the revolt on the slave ship Amistad, and his defense by kindly sympathetic white people, the film lacks the sort of emotional power one wishes it could have had. Still, the first 15 minutes, which chronicles the bloody revolt on the ship, are still pretty awesome though.
And so Paramount Home Entertainment is releasing the film on Blu-ray DVD for the first time on May 6th. Unfortunately, the only special features that are listed for the blu-ray are a promotional The Making of Amistad featurette and the trailer.