Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Master and Commander Redux

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 20, 2009 at 12:59PM

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World has all the elements of the kind of movie that keeps studio heads up at night: it's literary (based on the Patrick O'Brian seafaring series), period (Napoleonic), expensive (close to $150 million), packed with action (swords, pistols, rifles and cannons) and VFX (ships at sea under fire). That's why, even though the Napoleonic adventure movie looks like a success, grossing $209.5 million worldwide, it was a nail biter for Twentieth Century Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman at the time. (He took on partners in the venture, and had to push back the release to get the FX finished.) The well-reviewed awards contender (nominated for ten Oscars, it won two) barely made its production and marketing costs back. (Here's my NYT story from 2003.)
0

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World has all the elements of the kind of movie that keeps studio heads up at night: it's literary (based on the Patrick O'Brian seafaring series), period (Napoleonic), expensive (close to $150 million), packed with action (swords, pistols, rifles and cannons) and VFX (ships at sea under fire). That's why, even though the Napoleonic adventure movie looks like a success, grossing $209.5 million worldwide, it was a nail biter for Twentieth Century Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman at the time. (He took on partners in the venture, and had to push back the release to get the FX finished.) The well-reviewed awards contender (nominated for ten Oscars, it won two) barely made its production and marketing costs back. (Here's my NYT story from 2003.)

It makes sense that Russell Crowe (post-State Of Play) would want to return to the juicy role of Captain Jack Aubrey in what should be a big adventure franchise. A script is in the works based on the 11th novel set in the Caribbean, dealing with Aubrey's illegimate son, a priest.

But this sort of heavy-duty period movie about ships at sea is tough to execute: Master and Commander had finicky Australian Peter Weir at the helm. Rothman wooed him by laying a mock captain's sword on his lap and asking him to take command of the HMS Surprise. Weir has been unwilling to return for a sequel.

Fox says it's early days yet, with no deals in place.

originally posted at Variety.com

This article is related to: Headliners, Russell Crowe


E-Mail Updates