Why Didn't This DiCaprio Movie Come Out Last Year?

Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island keeps getting moved around, but why?

By Leslie Gornstein Feb 04, 2010 12:25 AMTags

What's the deal with Shutter Island? They had trailers out early fall, and now they're opening the movie in the dead of winter. Did Scorsese and DiCaprio make a stinker they're trying to hide?
—Karen in Indiana, via the Answer B!tch inbox

If you have Martin Scorsese lighting up your phones asking why his picture has been moved from October—the height of Oscar season—to February, you cite circumstances largely out of your control.

You say you don't have the money to showcase the movie properly until 2010. And that your star, Mr. Leonardo DiCaprio, is, of course, a legend in his own time, much like you, Mr. Scorsese, but he's not available for international publicity junkets right this second.

And that is, in fact, what Paramount has said, to Scorsese and the press. (Meantime, we're getting some pretty righteous trailers, like this new Super Bowl spot that came out today.)

Movie marketing insiders tell me these reasons are indeed valid—but they may not be the full story...

"The biggest decision for any studio when they have a lot of money invested in a film is picking the right theatrical and DVD date," says my movie studio source. "And they probably have a lot of money in this movie."

And movie studios have been feeling the recession pinch lately, so it's not that hard to believe that a studio may want to wait until a new year, when budgets are refreshed, to market a movie with such a big star and director.

(According to Deadline Hollywood, Paramount may also have been concerned about DVD sales, maybe hoping they'd perform better in 2010 than in dismal 2009.)

But there are other factors out there to consider.

The film has a strong horror element, my film marketing source notes. And October is generally choked with scary fare.

"This could have been about what was coming out competitively in October," the source suggests. "So maybe they thought, 'Let's wait until there are a bunch of comedies and romances in the theaters and do some counterprogramming'."

If that's the case, that's more of an elective decision—and not something you share with Mr. Scorsese.


See what else is coming in 2010 in the Movies From the Future gallery.