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George Clooney's 'The Monuments Men' Release Date Pushed Back

Annie Lloyd |
October 23, 2013 | 1:20 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

"The Monuments Men" (Sony Pictures)
"The Monuments Men" (Sony Pictures)
This morning the LA Times broke the story of how George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men” has been pushed back to 2014. According to Clooney, the visual effects will not be ready in time for the original December 18 release date. “We simply don't have enough people to work enough hours to finish it,” he told the LA Times. Now slated for an unspecified release date in the first quarter of 2014, “The Monuments Men” will both lose eligibility for this year’s Academy Awards and exit the highly crowded (but also lucrative) 2013 holiday movie season. 

George Clooney and Grant Heslov (who co-wrote “The Ides of March” and “Good Night and Good Luck” with Clooney) wrote the screenplay based on Robert M. Edsel’s book,"The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History". The titular “monuments men” are a World War II platoon who must complete the task of stealing art masterpieces from the Nazis and returning them to the owners. 

The Sony Pictures/20th Century Fox film involves a star-studded ensemble. Clooney himself acts alongside his BFF Matt Damon, as well as Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, and Hugh Bonneville. Principle photography occurred this past spring in Germany and the UK. The original December release date was already stretch because of the short time frame for special effects after shooting wrapped. A movie set in WWII requires extensive effects to achieve realistic qualities, and Clooney recognizes how "If any of the effects looked cheesy, the whole movie would look cheesy," as he told the LA Times.

A February release date holds some risk with the box office. Very few movies earn over $100 million unlike during summer and holiday movie seasons when movie attendance is at its highest. This risk is more concerning for the Clooney-led film than the removal from the Oscar contest. In a conversation with Deadline, the writer-director reiterated how his goal for the movie has always been to create a fun, crowd-pleasing, un-cynical experience. The assumptions about Oscar desires stemmed from reports on the project connecting the release date with Clooney’s pattern of setting his sights on the Academy. Pushing the release date will make accomplishing the goal of a high-earning and high-fun much more difficult. 

“The Monuments Men” does have a successful precedent to look towards, however. “Shutter Island” originally was slated to open in late 2009 but was pushed to February 2010 because of money (remember the recession?). The Scorsese film had an $80 million budget and earned $128 million; “The Monuments Men” is rumored to have a budget a bit above $50 million. Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox gave Clooney the ok to push the release to the box-office graveyard that is January through March, so they’re clearly banking on following in the path of “Shutter Island.”

“The Monuments Men” also isn’t the only movie to switch release dates this year. Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” has been riding a wave of delay rumors for the past few weeks, but seems to have settled into a 2013 release. Sony Pictures Classics' "Foxcatcher" moved from November 8 to 2014 and The Weinstein Company’s “Grace of Monaco” had a November release but now won’t see audiences until March of 2014. 

Reach Staff Reporter Annie Lloyd here. Follow Staff Reporter Annie Lloyd on Twitter here.



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