Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Paramount has pushed back Martin Scorsese’s latest film, Shutter Island, from October 2nd this year, to February 19th, 2010. The Leonardo DiCaprio-starring adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone) novel is the second high profile project to be pushed back from Fall this year to February next year. Earlier this month they moved The Wolfman to February 19th (a week before Shutter Island‘s new date).

The reasons for Shutter Island‘s release date move – a film that some people already have on their predicted Oscar nominee list – are many, but the main ones are a lack of financing (for the home video market) and DiCaprio’s lack of availability to promote the film internationally. An insider (of Nikki Finke’s at Deadline Hollywood) is saying that the studio is hoping that Shutter Island‘s chances will be helped with the new date because of the multi-Oscar-winning The Silence of the Lambs being released in a similar February date back in 1991. And now that the Academy has expanded the amount of Best Picture nominees from five to ten, it will be easier for the film to get an nomination.

That last part I can buy, but the Silence of the Lambs things sounds like a bit of a stretch to me… in no way a guarantee.

Along with the DiCaprio promotion availability problem, and the Oscar nomination attempt for 2011, there could be a couple of other reasons for this move: The studio thinks it will make more money early next year and wants to spend their money on other projects before the end of 2009. And expanding on the Oscar nomination thing, they may think there are other Oscar-worthy films this year that will be severe competition. I think it’s probably a combination of all of those mentioned.

However, even if the studio has their legitimate reasons to change the date (I’m sure they do, or else they wouldn’t have done it), it still comes as a bit of a surprise to me. With Shutter Island being Scorsese’s next movie (a multiple Oscar nominee, and winner a couple of years ago with The Departed), and this being his fourth time working with DiCaprio, I thought for sure they would have pushed this for at least the directing nomination, if not the acting one, too.

There’s also the fact that the movie is only a couple of months away, and NOW they’re suddenly changing the date…

Of course, that’s me saying that without having seen the movie, so maybe it’s not as good as the trailer (and the director/cast) makes it look. Whatever the reason, I’d say they’ve taken some of the juice out of the anticipation for the movie that they built up thus far, particularly with that creepy trailer that appeared a couple of months ago.

UPDATE – Paramount has released a statement regarding the new release date:

“Our 2009 slate was greenlit in a very different economic climate and as
a result we must remain flexible and willing to recalibrate and adapt to
a changing environment.  This is a situation facing every single studio
as we all work through the financial pressures associated with the
broader downturn. Like every business, we must make difficult choices to
maximize our overall success and to best manage Paramount’s business in
a way that serves Viacom and its shareholders, while providing the film
with every possible chance to succeed both creatively and financially.”

“Martin Scorsese is not just one of the world’s most significant
filmmakers, but also a personal friend. Following a highly successful
2009, we have every confidence that Shutter Island is a great anchor to
lead off our 2010 slate and the shift in date is the best decision for
the film, the studio and ultimately Viacom.”- Brad Grey, Paramount
Pictures Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

What do you think about the studio pushing Shutter Island back to next year?

As stated, Shutter Island has had its release date changed from October 2nd, 2009, to February 19th, 2010.

Sources: DeadlineHollywoodDaily (thanks to FirstShowing)