“Bastille Day,” which centers on a CIA agent trying to counter a bombing in France, was released in an estimated 233 cinemas Wednesday, just a day before the truck attack that unfolded in Nice during celebrations of the actual Bastille Day, one of the country’s most important holidays. Release of the movie had already been postponed following the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris last November.
Studiocanal has given cinemas the option to pull “Bastille Day” from their theaters. It will become clearer over the weekend which major exhibitors, if any, exercise that option.
The plot of the film, directed by James Watkins (“The Woman in Black”), begins with a fatal bomb attack in Paris. It was released in Britain in April; the only major territory in which it is currently playing besides France is Italy. Focus Features has U.S. distribution rights to “Bastille Day” but has yet to release it.
Studiocanal, which financed, sold internationally, and distributed the film in France, has pulled all of its billboard and digital advertising in France. Cinema chains will decide whether to take down front-of-house promotion.
The decision to offer cinemas the option of yanking “Bastille Day” was taken by Studiocanal chairman and CEO Didier Lupfer and Francois Clerc, its head of theatrical distribution in France.
Since the film has already come out in theaters, Studiocanal is supposed to wait at least four to six months to roll it out on pay VOD in accordance with France’s strict window release schedule, which forbids day-and-date releases.
Although theaters were closed Friday in Nice, they were open in the rest of France. The country will observe three days of mourning starting Saturday.
It’s too soon to determine whether the attack and days of mourning will have an impact on the box office of other films, such as “Ice Age, Collision Course,” this week’s biggest release. Upcoming releases in France include “Florence Foster Jenkins” and “The Legend of Tarzan.”