EXCLUSIVE: Green Inferno, the Eli Roth-directed film about student activists who travel from Gotham to save the Amazon rainforest only to be pursued by a cannibal tribe, has been taken off Open Road’s release calendar. The film was scheduled for wide release on September 5. I’m told this happened because financier Worldview Entertainment is balking at ex-CEO Christopher Woodrow’s commitment to provide the P&A.
Since this is Roth’s first directorial outing in six years and his budget conscious fright fare almost always scares up profits, this is almost as shocking as the subject matter and also a tasty bit of dish. I’ve confirmed from Open Road that the release date is scratched, though the distributor won’t comment further, including whether there will be a later release date or if this goes straight to video. Worldview has been going through a restructure since the abrupt and largely unexplained exit of CEO Woodrow, which Deadline revealed last June.
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The company, now run by Molly Conners, put a freeze on all of Woodrow’s extravagant commitments and is scrutinizing every deal that was made. Green Inferno has been caught in that snare and is not alone; there is reportedly a lawsuit by Hoyt David Morgan, who claimed he staked $3.7 million in Worldview in exchange for exec producer credit on the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Birdman, only to be stiffed on the money and the credit.
Worldview is still squarely in operation, I’m told, with Conners determined to responsibly put the pieces back together. She will be in Venice to premiere Worldview pics Birdman and Manglehorn. It looks from here like the scrapping of Green Inferno from Open Road’s fall schedule has little to do with the quality of the film Roth directed, co-wrote and produced. Green Inferno was acquired by Open Road after it premiered in the Midnight Madness program at 2013 Toronto City to raucous response. It got a 77% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a stat that makes it seem like if you hunger for one incredibly violent nightmarish Amazon cannibal film this year, Green Inferno might be just for you. It got a similar reaction last week at the Fantasia festival.
Roth is currently editing his latest film, the Keanu Reeves-starrer Knock Knock, and he’s collaborating on a script with David O Russell and is producing the TV series South Of Hell with Jason Blum as his Netflix series Hemlock Grove just got a second season. He wouldn’t comment here, but he clearly likes his cannibal extravaganza, recently producing and releasing a mobile game for the movie.
I’m told that Worldview doesn’t intend to leave Roth high and dry, and behind the scenes talks are going on to try and figure this out. If that doesn’t rescue the wide release of this film, I imagine that someone will provide the P&A spend (it’s the first money to get refunded), or else another distributor will show an appetite and step to the plate for Roth’s cannibal fare. Are there any culinary puns I’ve missed?