Columbia Takes Eye Off of the Moneyball

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Columbia Pictures has dropped the ball on Moneyball, the Steven Soderbergh-directed drama starring Brad Pitt that was supposed to begin production on Monday in Phoenix, says Variety.

On Friday, the studio’s Amy Pascal placed the movie into “limited turnaround,” giving the filmmaker the chance to set it up at another studio, with Warner Bros. and Paramount the prime targets.

The trade adds that the move came after Pascal read a rewrite that Soderbergh did to Steven Zaillian’s script and found it very different from the earlier scripts she championed. Pascal was uncomfortable enough with how the vision had changed that she applied the brakes.

If a new financier doesn’t emerge by today, Columbia will re-examine options that include replacing Soderbergh (and hoping Pitt doesn’t ankle), delaying the film until Pascal and the filmmaker find themselves in synch on the script or pulling the plug.

The news came just 96 hours before the participants were ready to take the field, following three months of preparation and with camera tests completed and cast and budget in place.

Moneyball is based on the bestselling Michael Lewis book about Billy Beane (Pitt), the former player who resurfaced as the Oakland A’s general manager and found success fielding competitive teams for low cost.

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