Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds opened last Friday to a $14 million first day reception and $38 million opening weekend at the domestic box office, with a worldwide reception of $65-plus million. Right about now, exec producers the Weinsteins are bound to be breathing a big sigh of relief, since after the financial failure of Grindhouse they not only want, but need, this movie to make money.
Basterds was released on August 21st, which is a bit early – you would think that they’d wait out as long as they could and release the film in late November/December, sliding it in there before the end of the year to make it eligible (and to keep it fresh in mind) for the Oscars. That’s exactly what they did with The Reader last year, which garnered it five nominations including Best Picture. But it appears that Harvey Weinstein has a different strategy in mind for pushing Inglourious Basterds into the awards arena…
According to LA Times, Basterds is going to be released later this year on DVD, and by having it in mass release, it will be readily available for Oscar voters (or any other award voter for that matter). Instead of sending out individually watermarked Oscar screeners to Academy voting members, which can cost around $20 per copy, the Weinsteins plan to basically flood everyone with copies of Inglourious Basterds. After all: a $5 non-watermarked copy, versus a $20 watermarked copy, is a no-brainer for a studio hurting for cash and understandably setting their sights on those gold statues. That’s apparently one of the ways that Crash won the Best Picture Oscar a few years ago, beating out predicted winner Brokeback Mountain: the studio shoved out over 120,000 cheap DVDs to make sure everyone saw it.
I’m really not surprised that the Weinsteins are pushing Inglourious Basterds for the Oscars. Having seen the film twice now, it easily deserves a Supporting Actor nomination for Christoph Waltz (he should also win, IMO), and also a couple for Original Screenplay and Best Director for Tarantino. I have a feeling that at least a couple of those will end up being the case (Actor and Screenplay), with Best Picture maybe slipping in there as well, since the Academy has expanded the Best Picture nominees from five to ten entries.
It’s an interesting, but not altogether surprising, tactic that the Weinstein’s are employing to get the Basterds on the mind of everyone who has a counting vote at the various award organizations. It makes sense from a money point of view, and even more sense when you consider it’s the Weinsteins we’re talking about: producers who really need this to make money (rumors are that they’re absolutely banking – pun intended – on Tarantino’s latest being a success).
However, what will this mean for what we get on an Inglourious Basterds DVD that’s apparently set to drop before the end of the year? Something tells me we might not get an edition that’s packed with special features, and that it may just be a rushed, no frills version just to get it out there, with the proper special edition appearing some months (or years, knowing Tarantino) later. Generally this is something we’ve all have to put up with pretty much since DVDs came out, but with Inglourious Basterds it would be particularly annoying. There’s so much detail in the film – as well as the fact that a lot of stuff was inevitably cut in the editing room – that the extra features will be of particular interest.
Here’s hoping it doesn’t turn into another Grindhouse or Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair situation: we’ve been waiting on those special editions for years now. As a big fan of Tarantino’s latest, a proper DVD release of Inglourious Basterds being a long way away doesn’t even bear thinking about…
What do you think of the Oscar strategy being planned for the Basterds? Do you think this mentioned DVD release will be a simple one and that we’ll have to wait ages for the real, extras-filled edition?
Inglourious Basterds is currently in theatrical release, and, as stated, supposedly will be coming out on DVD before the end of the year.