By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 19, 2013 at 1:26PM
"Extraordinary Measures," "The Back-Up Plan," "Faster," "Beastly," "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen"... to date, CBS Films' slate hasn't exactly been bursting with quality fare from established auteurs, nor has it had any massive box office success stories. Even more, outside of the surprise Golden Globes presence for 'Yemen,' they haven't been awards season players either, which makes this announcement all the more puzzling.
CBS Films has landed the U.S. rights to the Coen Brothers' highly anticipated "Inside Llewyn Davis." We have to say, this news is kind of surprising, considering we figured a major studio like Paramount might've snapped it up, especially since the directing duo's last effort, the western "True Grit," was the biggest box office success of their career. Or maybe a specialized indie shingle like The Weinstein Company or Fox Searchlight would have made a play? However, it's CBS who have coughed up $4 million for the movie that certainly isn't lacking in stars with Oscar Issac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman in the film.
But perhaps the '60s folk music setting scared off the larger fish in the pond -- a tough sell, no matter who stars -- or maybe it's CBS' ongoing relationship with the Coens that proved decisive. After all, they do have the rights to the Coen-penned "Gambit"...which is still undated after opening to pretty poor reviews overseas.
However, given their minimal slate for the rest of 2013 -- which includes the horror "7500," the ensemble comedy "Get A Job," the old-timers laffer "Last Vegas" and the Sundance acquired "Toy's House" -- perhaps they can give it the prestige attention that other shingles might not. Word around "Inside Llewyn Davis" is very good following a studio screening earlier this month, the price tag suggests this was a hot buy, and undoubtedly it brings some sheen to CBS right when they can use it.
No word yet on a release, but we'd wager our lunch money on a Cannes premiere and a fall date.