The upcoming historical epic Napoleon, featuring Joaquin Phoenix, might be the next huge movie to be pushed into 2024, according to a new report.
With Warner Bros pushing Dune: Part II well into 2024, the first major domino toppled as a result of the ongoing strikes in Hollywood. Sure, we’d previously seen Disney and Sony (among others) delay films but along with Sony’s Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse, Dune: Part II was the first huge blockbuster to see its release postponed. (It’s worth noting though that Spider-Verse was facing a serious uphill battle to make its slated date and may well have been pushed back, strike or no.)
Since Warner Bros postponed the Dune sequel, we’ve been waiting to see how other studios might respond. Now, according to Variety, it will be Sony and Apple that act next, postponing Napoleon.
The film was set to be released in cinemas in November before heading to Apple’s streaming platform, with the latter having financed the film’s sizeable production budget. Sony is distributing the film across much of the globe (including here in the UK) and the report states that there are concerns that not being able to leverage Joaquin Phoenix’s star power to market the film, may significantly hurt its box office drawing power.
If true, we can see the logic for all involved here. Sony obviously wants the film to gross highly to maximise its cut. We’d guess it would also be keen on a huge theatrical run so it can continue making overtures to Apple. The latter company is working with Paramount to distribute its other huge 2023 release, Killers Of The Flower Moon so Sony will be keen for Napoleon to do well so it doesn’t find itself frozen out of any future distribution deals with the deep-pocketed tech company.
For Apple, the whole point of theatrical releases is to draw eyeballs and prestige towards its streaming platform, so it makes sense to hold back Napoleon's release if that means drawing far, far more eyeballs. We’ll see if the report proves to be true but with no end in sight for the strikes, this report won’t make happy reading for cinema operators. Does it mean that Joaquin Phoenix will suddenly have a small gap in his schedule to make The Island though? That would certainly present some kind of silver lining to this situation.
We’ll let you know more as we hear it.
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