The Kevin Spacey movie Billionaire Boys Club has landed a summer release date despite the sexual misconduct scandal that derailed the actor's career late last year. It's been a tumultuous eight months for Spacey, the two-time Oscar-winning actor who found himself at forefront of the #MeToo movement after allegations of unwanted sexual advances were leveled against him by fellow actor Anthony Rapp.
Spacey's career quickly unraveled as a result, as Netflix and its production partner MRC suspended production on House of Cards before eventually firing the actor and dropping his Gore Vidal biopic from their slate. Not long after, Sony Pictures and director Ridley Scott made the decision to cut Spacey's pivotal role as billionaire oilman J. Paul Getty from the true-life kidnapping drama All the Money in the World, and quickly replaced the actor with Christopher Plummer for a quick production turnaround to meet awards season deadlines. For all intents and purposes, Spacey's career as one of the most celebrated actors in Hollywood appeared to be over until Vertical Entertainment, the distributor of the biographical crime drama Billionaire Boys Club, announced that they were going to release the film in theaters this summer.
According to The Wrap , the film will debut on digital and Video on Demand services starting July 17 before a limited theatrical run on August 17. Obviously aware of the potential blowback from releasing the film, Vertical Entertainment, in a statement to The Wrap, addressed the allegations in conjunction with the announcement of the film's release. They said:
“We hope these distressing allegations pertaining to one person’s behavior — that were not publicly known when the film was made almost 2.5 years ago — do not tarnish the release ... We don’t condone sexual harassment on any level and we fully support victims of it. At the same time, this is neither an easy nor insensitive decision to release this film in theaters, but we believe in giving the cast, as well as hundreds of crew members who worked hard on the film, the chance to see their final product reach audiences ... In the end, we hope audiences make up their own minds as to the reprehensible allegations of one person’s past, but not at the expense of the entire cast and crew present on this film."
Since Billionaire Boys Club is coming from an indie distributor, in all likelihood, Vertical Entertainment couldn't withstand the financial blow of shelving the film and eating the production costs associated with it. In addition to Spacey, the film — which reportedly chronicles a group of wealthy young men in the 1980s and their get-rich-quick scam turned deadly — also stars Taron Egerton, Emma Roberts, and Spacey's Baby Driver co-star Ansel Elgort.
While VOD/limited theatrical release films generally don't attract the media attention traditional theatrical releases do, it will be interesting to see how Vertical Entertainment approaches the promotion of Billionaire Boys Club and Spacey's involvement in it, especially since they appear to be tackling the tricky idea of releasing a Spacey film head-on. Plus, Spacey may not be prominently featured in any of the promotional materials, though he does appear in the Billionaire Boys Club's international trailer, which was released last month.
One thing's for certain, people shouldn't expect Spacey to do any interviews to support the project, which would only invite questions about the allegations against Spacey not only in regard to Rapp, but others who have leveled allegations against him. Additionally, Spacey followers shouldn't look at this film as a comeback project, considering that the film was in production when the actor's sexual misconduct broke. A comeback would have to involve an entirely new project, which won't be happening anytime soon, if ever.
Source: The Wrap