“We decided it’s a commercial movie that will play well in the spring, and we’ll give it an aggressive wide release then,” Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore told Variety.
According to the trade, DreamWorks producers had high hopes for its film starring Foxx as a homeless schizophrenic musician who dreams of playing at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The film is based on a series of L.A. Times columns by Steve Lopez, played in the film by Robert Downey Jr.
DreamWorks wouldn’t comment, but insiders tell Variety that bosses are very disappointed by Paramount’s decision, while conceding that it might benefit the film’s box office prospects due to the competitive field of year-end films.
U.K.’s Working Title, also a producer on “Soloist,” and director Joe Wright were also reportedly taken off guard. Paramount risks tainting the movie’s profile with this move, which the industry and media will read as a vote of no-confidence. It had built positive buzz during long-lead screenings.
With “The Soloist” moved to March, Paramount is clearly throwing its Oscar campaign money at Sam Mendes’ “Revolutionary Road” starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, and David Fincher’s “The Curious Life of Benjamin Button,” starring Brad Pitt as a man who ages backward.