Rough road for Soderbergh’s ‘Che’

Epic film facing marketing difficulties overseas

Benicio del Toro got a big shoutout at the SAG Awards from Sean Penn. But otherwise it’s been a rough road for “Che,” Steven Soderbergh‘s two-part Che Guevara opus.

The $60 million pic was always viewed as a tough sell given its four-hour running time and oddball dramatic structure.

It got a chilly reception last May at Cannes, received mixed reviews at best and while initially forwarded as potential kudos bait, the film landed no Oscar noms on Jan. 22. IFC, which picked up U.S. rights at Toronto, reported a moderate domestic gross of $164,142 at 35 locations over the Jan. 23-25 weekend after the noms were announced.

Overseas grosses are somewhat better, with about $20 million from a half-dozen major markets, led by Spain at $9.7 million.

But the pic’s rollout faced a significant hurdle overseas: Wild Bunch, the French company that put up the majority of coin, sold off most markets long ago, so there’s no coordination of marketing efforts abroad — and, now, no Oscar buzz.

Distrib vets say the situation highlights a major problem with pre-sales: “Local distributors have no incentive to do anything but get their investment back, so you have no way of building any momentum when you have a film like this one that’s going to need special handling,” says one distrib vet.

And while Che himself has iconic status around much of the globe, the film itself was not a property with a lot of recognition along the lines of “The Golden Compass” and “Sex and the City,” two pics that pre-sold foreign but scored bigtime.

“Che” still has rollouts set for Australia on Feb. 19, Italy on Feb. 20, Germany on Feb. 26, Sweden on March 20 and Holland on April 2.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety