Speaking of embattled auteurs, David Poland asks more questions about Sony pulling the plug on Moneyball and what it means. So does Jeffrey Wells. I've also heard that Soderbergh wanted to make a responsibly budgeted commercial movie with MLB approval, and that Sony was backing James Brooks' baseball movie over his.
Point is, Soderbergh is being penalized for not always making commercial movies, for being an indie at heart. Execs feel that they can't count on him. They fear that he might go off the reservation. You get so many times at bat with big-budget movies and when you fan too much, the financiers lose confidence. For Soderbergh's sake, I hope The Informant! is a hit.
Prolific to a fault, Soderbergh inspires in me equal admiration for sticking to his guns and having cojones, and anger that he squanders opportunities for all filmmakers trying to make smart movies for adults when he indulges himself and ignores the audience. That's fine when you're making little movies, not so good at the studio level. Solaris, The Good German and the foreign-financed $60 million Che are wiping out the wriggle room earned by Traffic, Erin Brockovich and the Ocean series.
Finally, Michael Mann, who has never been willing to go indie, is far guiltier than Soderbergh of recklessly spending studio money.