The Wackness Wacked By Sony Pictures Classics
When was the last time you watched something released by Sony Pictures Classics? Go ahead, think about it. Iíve got time. Iíll wait. Here, Iíll tell you mine. It was Volver in 2006, which I was only able to see after making a supreme effort to find it. Iím sure none of you bothered. I did, but then I do this for a living.
The last really noteworthy film released by SPC was Capote back in 2005. SPC releases a lot of movies, nearly ten of them every year actually, but no one ever sees them, talks about them, or even thinks about them. Their biggest release last year was Becoming Jane. Iím sure youíve heard almost nothing about it, except perhaps that Anne Hathaway is in it. Theyíre not exactly Lionsgate, hell theyíre not even Picturehouse, but because theyíre a division of Sony they have money. Lots of money. Money theyíre using to wack The Wackness.
The Wackness (read my review) is the best movie I saw at Sundance this year, a coming of age story set in the early 90s, following around a young pot dealer and his crazy psychiatrist. It won the Audience Award for Drama on Saturday, and it was one of the most talked about movies in the halls of the Yarrow Hotel while I was in Park City with the CB festival team. Everybody loved it, everybody had high hopes for it, it has all the makings of an amazing, break-out film on the level of Little Miss Sunshine.
Everyone seemed to want it too, which made it somewhat worrisome that until tonight no one had stepped up to the plate to buy it. While I was sitting outside the theater typing up my review, a Mandalay VP stood nearby lamenting into her cell phone that she didnít have enough money to purchase it right there and then. Sony Pictures Classics did however, have enough money, and according to HR, buy it they did.
Now youíll probably never get to see it, if form holds. With the right marketing campaign and the right people promoting it, The Wackness could have easily opened in 1000 theaters and made millions. With Sony Pictures Classics behind it, weíll be lucky if it ever plays anywhere outside of New York or LA, and forget about Oscar consideration. Or maybe Iím talking out of my ass here, maybe I have Sony Pictures Classics all wrong. Maybe theyíll do right by The Wackness. Maybe we havenít heard much lately simply because they havenít found the right films, and now that they have something great in The Wackness, theyíll really push for it. They paid in the low seven figures for it, not exactly a blockbuster deal, but certainly enough that theyíll need more than single-theater Manhattan audiences if they want to recoup their investment in ticket prices. Still, this seemed like the sort of movie that could have and should have been snatched up by someone bigger. Where was Lionsgate or heck, even Fox Searchlight? The Wackness deserves better. Whenever or however it finally gets released, make sure you make it a point to see it.
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