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Sony afraid 'Anonymous' will bomb wide
As the director of such gargantuan thrill rides as "Independence Day" and "2012," Roland Emmerich is used to having his films open on as many screens as possible.
But the director may feel slightly humbled by Sony's last-minute decision to radically decrease the number of screens on which the director's latest film, the medium-sized Shakespeare conspiracy thriller "Anonymous," is debuting. Sony made the move after pre-release data implied that the film would gather low opening numbers, according to The L.A. Times.
Going from a planned wide release of thousands of screens, "Anonymous" is now set to open on only 250, and will platform thereafter depending on its success.
In a departure for Emmerich (whose credits also include "Godzilla" and "The Day After Tomorrow"), "Anonymous" is a smaller film that revolves around the usually discredited conspiracy theory that "William Shakespeare" was really Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford ("The Amazing Spider-Man's" Rhys Ifans), and that the real Shakespeare was a talentless drunk -- and probable murderer. The film also stars Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson and David Thewlis.
Typically, period dramas without much star power play best to smaller, adult-skewing audiences, as opposed to the please-everybody style of Emmerich's previous films (one possible exception in his oeuvre is 2000's "The Patriot," but that had the star power of Mel Gibson and a rising Heath Ledger).
"Anonymous" opens October 28.