Weinsteins Unleashing 'Basterds' in Late-August Dumping Ground

A note taped to Defamer HQ's door greeted us this morning — not an eviction notice as we feared, but rather just another Weinstein news dump announcing Inglourious Basterds' [sic] eyebrow-raising late-summer '09 release date.

The Weinstein Company has officially pinned Quentin Tarantino's Nazi-scalping World War II action-drama to August 21 — traditionally the place films like Bangkok Dangerous, College and God knows what else go to die before flourishing in the DVD/Flopz™ afterlife. That changes now, insists trend-buster Harvey, who spent a good portion of mid-2008 courting Basterds suitors to help pursue a Cannes '09 premiere, and who retains only the highest hopes for QT's Brad Pitt-led epic.

Cannes isn't out of the question, though even if Tarantino missed it we figured it had Venice and Toronto to push it into a mild, mid-September prestige slot — more Burn After Reading than Tropic Thunder, the latter which survived an Aug. 15 opening last year with a ubiquitous, $35 million marketing blitz on its behalf. That's way too rich for the Weinsteins' blood, leaving us to wonder if we should circle the date in pencil like we're accustomed to before they move a film back to a more word-of-mouth friendly awards-season spot.

Or if Harvey knows something we don't — that all the spit-take rehearsals in the world won't save what might be looking increasingly like a critical and commercial nonstarter. At least someone learned something from Grindhouse.