UPDATE: DreamWorks and Disney have just moved Steven Spielberg’s War Horse off December 28th and onto December 25th. It comes just as Paramount rescheduled the Spielberg-directed Adventures Of Tintin, moving the pic using 3D motion capture technology up to December 21st from December 23rd. Both pictures are already considered tough sells in the North American market.
As for the WWI-era War Horse, the first glimpse looked like a travelogue yet it’s actually Empire Of The Sun meets My Friend Flicka. Word is it’s going to need all of the Disney marketing machine’s help to get it seen although Spielberg and Snider have major awards hopes for it and The Help. That’s going to require a lot of Disney campaigning coin but Mouse House insiders are already complaining about all the demands which DreamWorks 2.0 is making on Disney. (No surprise here: the original DreamWorks did the same when based at Paramount and Universal.) For the rewards to be worth the headaches, the rebooted DreamWorks has to do better box office and help its troubled bottom line. (Athough Spielberg’s deals always benefit Spielberg most of all.) To mitigate all the bad news, the studio is suddenly attempting a PR offensive. Today, the Producers Guild announced that Spielberg will receive the 2012 David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures. And DreamWorks CEO Stacey Snider has emerged from petulant silence to suddenly giving on-the-record interviews. She just admitted DreamWorks won’t be buying new scripts and instead will work with those already in hand. She denied the company will be laying off staff or reducing expenses because of its disastrous box office performance.
Save for the success of The Help, Snider and Spielberg have presided over some low-budget bombs, like I Am Number Four and Fright Night as well as the big fat expensive disaster that was Cowboys & Aliens. Releasing on October 7th is another pricey pic, Shawn Levy’s $110 million-budgeted Real Steel which rival studios say is tracking mediocre at best. That’s concerning because, if anything of late, tracking has been overperforming box office, not the other way around. Snider claimed to The Hollywood Reporter that because of help from The Help, “We have absolute support from our partners. That is real, it is expressed, it is explicit.”
Good thing Reliance isn’t funding the Spielberg-directed Tintin which will have to make the vast majority of its grosses overseas when it opens there in October because the toon is a beloved international property virtually unknown in the U.S. Problem is, the buzz already is bad because the characters look weird and blobby in 3D CG. And don’t forget, Tintin is planned as a trilogy with Peter Jackson’s company.