In 2008, the world was watching when the Wachowski siblings delivered their first post-Matrix directorial effort, the big-budget spectacle Speed Racer. Despite that film’s disappointing financial and critical reception, anticipation has remained high for the duo’s upcoming sci-fi epic, Cloud Atlas. Now it seems fans will be getting to see the finished project sooner than expected.
According to a press release, the film adaptation of David Mitchell’s best-selling novel will now hit theaters in the United States on October 26th, 2012 and open internationally early next year. The film - which features A-listers Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon among its ensemble cast - was previously scheduled for release on December 6, placing it in the heart of Oscar season.
Here’s the key paragraph from Warner Bros.' press release:
Warner Bros. Pictures has officially slated the epic Cloud Atlas, from acclaimed filmmakers Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski, for domestic release on October 26, 2012. In addition, the Studio has acquired rights for the film in the major markets of the UK, France, Spain, Australia, and Japan, with plans to release it in those territories in early 2013. The joint announcement was made today by Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, and Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President of International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.
Although it certainly has star power and a lot of talent behind it, this ambitious project sounds like it could be a tough sell to mainstream audiences. Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain also dealt with multiple roles for its cast and a time-jumping plotline and ended up grossing a paltry $10 million in 2006. If Cloud Atlas is to succeed, it needs all the time it can get to build word of mouth, and its previous release date placed it just one week before a little film called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
Since Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-Earth will likely attract some of the same crowds as the Wachowskis’ latest, it makes perfect sense that the studio would rethink its decision and bump Cloud Atlas up. In addition, it would have contended with Tom Hooper’s much-hyped Les Miserables the very same week. Now the stiffest competition for Atlas will likely be Paranormal Activity 4 in its second weekend and Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. And while Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph and Robert Zemeckis’ Flight hit the following weekend, neither is expected to yield Lord of the Rings-sized numbers.
Whether or not the Wachowskis’ latest project lives up to the hype, the marketing campaign behind Cloud Atlas will likely decide if mainstream audiences turn out to see it. The new release date is certainly a step in the right direction.
Cloud Atlas hits U.S. theaters October 26th, 2012. Stay tuned for further details.