With two months to go until its planned January 28th bow, Sony has pulled Gus Van Sant's quirky teenage romance "Restless" from the release calendar.
The move is certainly a bit of a surprise but seems to indicate the studio isn't quite sure what to do with the film. Filming on the project wrapped in December of last year and it was pretty much in the can as of this summer. However, when Sony bypassed the fall festival circuit (most likely to put their energy behind David Fincher's "The Social Network") and slotted the film with a January release date we feared the worst. Now, with the film taken out of a dumping ground release -- where it would have squared off against the generic Jason Statham action vehicle "The Mechanic" and the likely tepid Anthony Hopkins exorcism movie "The Rite" -- and being planned for release later in the year for "potential festival play" in addition to "a more visible B.O. play period," perhaps Van Sant's film is something Sony is realizing deserves a better push.
But they certainly have their work cut out for them. "Restless" tells the story of a 16-year-old girl (Mia Wasikowska) who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and falls in love with an off-beat boy (Henry Hopper) who likes to attend funerals and is suffering from the death of his family — which somehow produces the ghost of a young, Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII (Ryo Kase).
A trailer for the film dropped earlier this year and to be honest it was a bit of a mixed bag. It seemed like a total quirkfest but that said, we really liked Jason Lew's script which is funny, sad, weird, and in many ways all over the map with lots of interesting tones and tenors. We're definitely very curious about the film and with Sony moving the film it seems to be an indication they want to give it a bit more attention (there has been very minimal marketing thus far for a film scheduled to hit in eight weeks).
No word yet on when it might hit theaters but if we had to guess, we'd wager September. The studio had a solid success this year premiering "Easy A" at TIFF just before it hit theaters and while the two films are not at all similar, they both feature on-the-rise actresses in higher-than-usual-concept films (though Van Sant's is certainly a bit more ambitious story-wise). In addition, it also prevents Wasikowska overload as she's also got Cary Fukanaga's "Jane Eyre" hitting on March 11, 2011 and having those two auteur-driven films -- both of which likely need time and word of mouth to build an audience -- within six weeks of each other probably would have been a bit of marketing and PR headache. [Variety]