Missing in Action: Genre films that have sat on the shelf
Oct. 1 sees the release of "Case 39," starring Renee Zellweger as a social
worker who temporarily takes custody of a little girl harboring a sinister
secret. The movie was filmed nearly four years ago, in late 2006, and ... more initially
set for release in February 2008. But that release date, along with at least
three others, came and went, the movie failing to materialize until now.
Why the wait? Well, the movie was widely slammed when it did reach screens in
New Zealand and Australia in 2009. But here in the U.S., "trying to find the
best release date" has been the mantra heard from distributor Paramount
Pictures. We expect its run to be limited and short.
Not all unreleased or barely released movies are terrible. Some are victims
of studio turnover or financial woes. Others are withheld due to marketing
issues. Sometimes the final product is not bad at all, but a delay or limited
release usually conveys the wrong message, unfair or not.
Here's a short list of some movies that were delayed, barely released or are
still awaiting release:
"Carriers" (2009): Filmed in 2007 and given only a small release in September
2009, this chiller about four people surviving a viral pandemic is very
effective and boasts a strong lead performance from Chris Pine ("Star Trek").
Scary and undeserving of being dumped.
"All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" (TBA): Shot in 2006 and screened at festivals,
"Mandy Lane" has yet to receive a U.S. release date, due to distributor
problems. Critics who have seen it are split, with some calling it a smart teen
slasher and others describing it as tired and clichéd.
"The Poughkeepsie Tapes" (TBA): This fake documentary from filmmaking
brothers John and Drew Dowdle ("Devil"), about a serial killer who chronicles
his activities on video, is still unreleased by Sony Pictures three years after
it was shot.
"The Hole" (TBA): Director Joe Dante, known for genre classics like "The
Howling" and "Gremlins," shot this film about a family discovering a sinister
pit in their basement floor in 2008 -- in 3-D, no less. But despite an alleged
release this past summer, it has yet to surface.
"The Cabin in the Woods" (TBA): This horror flick conceived by "Buffy"
creator Joss Whedon was filmed in 2009 and first slated for release last
February. Delayed at first so that it could be converted to 3-D, the movie is
now on the shelf thanks to the financial difficulties of MGM Studios.
Don Kaye covers film, TV and entertainment for MSN.com