Thursday, August 13, 2015

The James Ponsoldt staggered release schedule

The goal at MIFF each year is to see films that I wouldn't otherwise be able to see for quite some time.

I figured The End of the Tour was not one of those, since it's already out in the U.S. I figured in Australia, it would be dawdling by about a month, but then it would come along sometime maybe in early September.

Nope. The End of the Tour releases in Australia on December 3rd.

That's not an unusual delay, of course. Movies that come out around Thanksgiving -- you know, the early Oscar contenders -- sometimes don't hit Australian cinemas until February. Which means they miss my cutoff for ranking my films each year. Quite to my consternation.

It does feel a bit strange for movies released earlier than that, though. I don't notice those long delays earlier in the year, or at least not nearly to the same extent. It's usually more like a month. Definitely not the four months of this delay. Even at the end of the year, it's three months at most.

But it's not unprecedented. In fact, James Ponsoldt's previous film, The Spectacular Now, had almost the exact same release schedule.

When I checked the website that projects Australian release dates for films sometimes as many as three years into the future, just to see when End of the Tour would actually be coming out here, I was surprised not to find it until December 3rd. Which immediately made me think of The Spectacular Now.

See, I had a chance to watch The Spectacular Now before leaving for Australia back in 2013. As I come up on the two-year anniversary of moving here, I find myself reflecting back to the period of time when I knew I was leaving. I made a trip to Chicago in early August to visit my friend Don, and Don and I always see at least one movie when we get together. We saw Fruitvale Station on that trip, but The Spectacular Now was one of our options.

The Spectacular Now came out on August 2nd of that year in the U.S., but I had to wait until December 5th to see it here. (But actually saw it on December 9th.) Now, Ponsoldt's next film, which released on July 31st in the U.S., is coming out on December 3rd here. In other words, not only the same window of time between the two releases, but the same dates on the calendar.

It's not entirely a coincidence. Both films were distributed in the U.S. by A24 films, and though there's no direct correlation between American distributors and Australian distributors, one would assume it's the same distributor for both films in Australia. (I googled but was unable to get an answer on this.) The American distributor considered both of Ponsoldt's movies to be good late summer movies (even though Tour takes place in the dead of winter), and the Australian distributor considered both of Ponsoldt's movies to be good early summer movies (there's little snow in Australia, so I guess snow is exotic at any time of year).

Maybe the real coincidence is that Don factors into both stories. Don is here now visiting, and he saw (and also loved) The End of the Tour with me.

There's one more sort of funny coincidence. In 2013, we had the chance to see Spectacular Now but saw Fruitvale Station instead. The stars of these two movies -- Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan -- are appearing together in a movie that is also hitting theaters now, the disastrous latest reboot of The Fantastic Four.

You may be yawning, but I get off on this stuff.

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