The first question that came to mind once I was told Dimension Films had decided to move John Hillcoat’s The Road — starring Viggo Mortensen and adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cormac McCarthy novel — from its October 16 release date to November 25 is What about Nine?
Nine, the musical adaptation of the stage play directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago) was already slated for November 25, is a Weinstein feature and is also a heavy Oscar favorite. Of course, Nine is most likely looking at a puny New York and Los Angeles release in November followed by expanding dates in December, which pretty much alleviates any real kind of competition and proves my query moot.
So, as it stands, the move now pits The Road up against The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Ninja Assassin and Old Dogs with Disney’s The Princess and the Frog also getting a limited release with plans to expand nationwide on December 11.
Based on the trailer (included in this post) it would appear The Road and Ninja Assassin are going for the same audience even though the material differs drastically, which does make the move slightly curious with Dimension and the Weinstein Co. doing everything they can to add more and more money to their coffers.
In an article at Variety, Ali Jaafar says the studio is planning a multi-layered marketing operation for The Road, targeted at both fans of McCarthy’s book and audiences fascinated by the more ghoulish aspects of the tale such as the hordes of cannibal killers roaming the barren landscape. If you ask me they are overestimating audience anticipation for the “ghoulish” aspects and forgetting the fact everyone knows who Cormac McCarthy is following No Country for Old Men and should really be pushing that angle more than anything.
The Road is set to be released in 1,200 to 1,500 locations.
Early reviews for the film out of film festivals range from excited to bored, and everything in-between. You can check out said reviews by clicking on any of the links below and I have five clips from the post-apocalyptic nightmare right here should you be so inclined.