Director Mark Osborne's adaptation of The Little Prince has garnered a decent amount of praise so far, premiering last year at Cannes and earning over $80 million so far overseas. It was scheduled to see wide release in Canada this weekend, followed by its anticipated premiere in the United States on March 18.
Unfortunately for fans, distributor Paramount Pictures dropped the film's US release unexpectedly. Worse yet, no one is exactly sure why Paramount decided to back out of the release.
Osborne took to Twitter, explaining to fans that the film wasn't being released in the United States next week after all. He thanked fans for their support in these "strange" times, and reassured them the film would see a US release through another distributor later in the year. He was unable to offer more details on who that distributor might be, however. His overall message reads as follows:
"Many thanks to everyone for the outpouring of love and support in these strange times. As it turns out, the much anticipated U.S. release of this special and unique film will have to be anticipated just a little bit more. All I can say is #thelittleprince will in fact be released by another distributor later this year. Until then, head to Canada! The film opens there in wide release this weekend!"
Thus far, Paramount has not given a reason for dropping the US distribution of the film. It's worth noting that the company hadn't actually finalized its plans for the release, though. Still, it's surprising to see the distribution deal fall through this close to the release date, especially when the film has already cleared its $77.5 million production budgets in overseas markets.
Last-minute delays aren't exactly unheard of, though there is still usually a bit more of a notice for the delay than this. One of the more famous last-minute delays came with Hoodwinked Too!: Hood vs Evil, where the Weinstein Company announced in December 2009 that the film wouldn't see its January 15, 2010 release so the company could tweak some animations and focus promotions on another film instead. Burger King released toys for the film in January 2010, but the movie didn't see a release until the end of April 2011.
The Little Prince currently has a 93% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 95% Want to See user rating with over 7300 users reporting, so whoever eventually distributes it will likely enjoy a successful release. Marketing costs may go up as the delay could rob the film of some momentum, but given the already positive buzz surrounding it, there should still be a decent amount of viewer interest when the movie finally gets its US release. Until then, we can always take Obsorne's advice and head to Canada for a weekend showing.
The Little Prince currently does not have a US release date, though director Mark Osborne assures fans that it will see a release in 2016.
Source: Spinoff Online