×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Boat’ sailing toward Focus

Working with Richard Curtis to create leaner pic

Focus Features is taking over domestic distribution of Working Title’s “The Boat That Rocked” from parent studio Universal and is working with filmmaker Richard Curtis to create a leaner version for American auds after the film’s mixed run overseas.

U was set to release the ensemble comedy in the U.S. on Aug. 28. Focus, more adept at marketing less commercial fare, has pushed back the release to some time in November.

The film’s so-so performance at the international box office this spring marked a rare disappointment for Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner’s Working Title. Pic, which cost upward of $50 million to produce, was expected to play like a broad comedy.

But it drew poor reviews and came in below expectations in the U.K., where it cumed $9.1 million. International gross to date is $25.1 million. It did show promise in France and Australia, indicating that there’s a specialized audience for the film.

Focus prexy James Schamus said his team is working with Curtis to trim about 20 minutes from the film, which originally ran 129 minutes. A chief complaint from critics was the film’s length.

“It will be a shorter, leaner version. We think it is a real crowd-pleaser. We love a challenge, and we love working with Working Title,” Schamus said.

The Boat That Rocked” borrows a page from British history in telling the story of a pirate radio station that beams rock ‘n’ roll into the U.K. in the 1960s. Station operates from a tanker on the high seas. Cast includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh and January Jones.

Curtis has penned several of Working Title’s most popular titles, including both “Bridget Jones” movies, “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Notting Hill” and “Love Actually.” After “The Boat That Rocked,” his only other directing credit is “Love Actually.”

Focus has worked with Working Title on several other projects, including “Atonement” and “Pride and Prejudice.”

More Film

  • Donald Trump Chucky Childs Play

    'Child's Play' Stars on New Chucky's 'Creepy' Resemblance to Donald Trump

    At Wednesday night’s world premiere of the “Child’s Play” remake, it was obvious that evil doll Chucky — the star of seven films over three decades — had a little work done. And now he bears a striking resemblance to Donald Trump. “Oh, you caught that?” Aubrey Plaza asked Variety on the black carpet outside [...]

  • Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Opening

    Academy Museum Opening Delayed Again to 2020

    The opening date of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has been delayed again, this time to an unspecified date in 2020. The museum, now under construction at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, has long been beset by delays and cost overruns. In December 2018, the Academy announced that it would open [...]

  • Bradley Cooper speaks at the 30th

    Producers Guild Shifts 2020 Awards Show to Hollywood Palladium

    The Producers Guild of America will hold its 31st Annual Producers Guild Awards at the Hollywood Palladium, shifting the site from the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The PGA had already announced that the show would take place on Jan. 18. The organization, which represents more than 8,000 producers, announced Thursday that it has launched a new [...]

  • Adam Driver appears in The Report

    Amazon’s ‘The Report’ Gets U.K. Theatrical Release Ahead of Streaming Launch

    Amazon Studio’s “The Report” will be released theatrically in the U.K. three weeks before it lands on the Prime Video streaming service. The Scott Z. Burns film tells the story of Daniel J. Jones, a U.S. Senate staffer who worked to reveal that truth about an “enhanced interrogation” program run by the CIA in the [...]

  • Elton John performing at Earls Court,

    Elton John Has a Message for Struggling LGBTQ Youth: 'Be Proud of Who You Are'

    Elton John isn’t at a loss for words when asked if he has a message for young LGBTQ people who are struggling with their sexuality or gender identity. In an exclusive interview with Variety at last month’s Cannes Film Festival, just hours before the world premiere of his long-in-the-works biopic “Rocketman,” John spoke candidly about the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content