Universal Pictures Releases Trailer; Cages Beast Until 2010
Back in February we reported with some delight that the website for the remake of The Wolfman had just gone live. The bigger part of the elation was that the project would be fronted by the multi-talented Benicio Del Toro in the leading role of Lawrence Talbot. At the time, we also promised to keep you in-the-loop on the ongoing status of this production. True to our word, we bring you some good news, albeit wrapped in a little bit of the bad stuff.
First the good news: Today Universal Pictures released the first full trailer for The Wolfman (view trailer HERE).
The Wolfman - Key Poster Art.
The remake, helmed by Joe Johnston, is directly based on the 1941 classic that starred Lon Chaney Jr. in the role of Talbot, a man who upon returning to his ancestral homeland is bitten and cursed by a werewolf. Part of the good news is that the trialer packs some stunning visuals by cinematographer Shelly Johnson and potentially frightful moments that evoke and pay homage to the original film while employing a trick or two from the modern scare tactic book. Even if you've never heard of the Wolfman (anything is possible), the trailer quickly sets up the folklore in just a few swift shots and soundbytes and sets you straight.
Another feather in the film's cap: special effects makeup master extraordinaire: Rick Baker, who has won a remarkable six Oscars ® for his work. 'Nuff said.
But aside from aesthetics, the prime question on the mind of every true fan of the classic is whether Del Toro can match - or surpass - the angst and foreboding that Chaney brought to the original. OR, if he'll bring something new to the role and make it his own. That is still to be seen (there's that tick again).
The production also boasts a star-studded cast that includes Academy Award-winner Anthony Hopkins, the ever-fantastic Hugo Weaving, and Golden Globe-winner Emily Blunt.
Now the silver bullet: Unfortunately, the suits at Universal Pictures giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other, and have put the half-man, half canine beast back in its cage - until 2010! This marks the fourth time the film's release date has been pushed back by UP. It was first scheduled to see the light of day this past Feb 13th, then bumped to April 3rd, then up to Nov. 6th.
The new release date is set for February 12th, just two days shy of Valentines Day. Is Universal seriously looking at releasing this pictures as a romantic drama? Not likely. Part of the decision, if one is to be believe Adam Fogelson, president of marketing and distribution for Universal, may be based on the fact that horror typically fares better at the box office during the first few month of the year rather than later in the year, say, for example, in November:
“We have seen just how enormous first quarter movies can be,” he said, citing the $215 million that studios generated on the February weekend this year, versus the $136 million that pics earned on the November date last year. [Variety]
But if that was the actual basis for their decision, then why not release it this past February 13th? (those exasperated HOWLS you hear are the thousands of fans who have been anticitpating this film for nearly a year now)
I've always said that horror fans are a loyal bunch. But they also have memories like elephants, industry-related blogs, fan sites with incredible viral capacities, and the purse strings. The folks at UP should be cautious not to bring out the monster in THEM, and risk bringing a curse (read backlash) upon their house... you f * * k with the beast, and you get the fangs!
SIDEBAR: As if to add salt to our already burning wounds, Universal has provided a widget that counts down the days until the film's new, new, new, new premiere date. Not excactly sure that reminding us how much more we have to wait until the film hits theaters is the best tactic right about now.