Bond or Baz?
Come Nov. 26, Aussies face a tough choice: whether to see “Quantum of Solace” or native son Baz Luhrmann’s epic “Australia.”
Both pics are now pegged for the same date Down Under, following Fox’s recent decision to move “Australia” to capitalize on the vacancy left by Warner’s “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” which moved to next summer. And it’s made exhibs and the respective distribs more than a bit touchy.
“It’s suicide that the two major movies of the quarter will go out on the same day,” says Kieren Dell, owner of the Majestic Cinemas.
Both pics will bow on more than 500 screens, but there are only 1,941 screens in Australia so the market would effectively be swamped by those two titles.
Sony Oz topper Stephen Basil-Jones describes Fox’s date change as “predatory,” “mean-spirited” and “arrogant.”
“It benefits no one, it’s cast a nasty cloud over the industry,” he told conference delegates at the Australia Intl. Movie Convention last week.
And while some exhibs hold out hope that either Sony or Fox will blink and move their pic, that isn’t looking likely.
“We’ve chosen our date and that’s that,” Fox’s Asia Pacific topper Sunder Kimatrai says. And Sony’s Basil-Jones says shifting the Bond pic might not be possible because star Daniel Craig is already locked into a planned publicity tour.