Joel Silver, 'Rocknrolla' Among the Inventory on Display at Warner Bros. Fire SaleAdd another "maybe" to our speculation about Joel Silver's future at Warner Bros.: Reports today indicate that the slumping superproducer is shopping around Guy Ritchie's Rocknrolla, a Dark Castle project scheduled for release by WB in October. Maybe. Now Lionsgate and Sony are supposedly in talks to pick up the action/crime thriller lest Warners overextend itself this fall with titles inherited from New Line (Pride and Glory), Picturehouse (The Women) and Warner Independent (Slumdog Millionaire, Towelhead). We think this falls into the "content is king" model evinced recently by Alan Horn, Barry Meyer and the higher-ups at Time Warner — as in, "This content is kind of terrible... Do we really have to release this?" At least that's the impression Horn apparently left with LAT BFF Patrick Goldstein:
Horn was honest about his assessment of the film. "I think it's a well-made picture, but while it's funny in spots, it's very English," he said. "I don't think it's broadly commercial. It feels like a film that deserves a spirited release, but not a wide one. Joel has an 800-screen deal, which we'll honor, but we might not be willing to spend the marketing money he wants us to." Horn shrugged. "I guess I'm in a shocking state of equanimity," he said. "The filmmakers have every right to do what they think is best in support of their movies. But we have the right to do what's best for Warner Bros. Sometimes the pursuit of those interests results in a disagreement. For now, we're preparing to release the film in October, but I don't see it starting out on 800 screens. If Joel is thinking there is someone out there willing to spend twice as much money as we're willing to, I'm sure he will pursue that."
Director Danny Boyle's Indian adventure Slumdog Millionaire is apparently also on the block after a $5 million acquisition last year by Warner Independent, but Horn insists Warners isn't backing up the dump truck just yet: "I'd like for us to find a way to release movies like Slumdog Millionaire, but we keep coming back to the same question — can we really do it justice?" Translation: "Throw this negative in Joel's moving truck on your way off the lot, will you?" Sure, Alan — anything for you, babe.