Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla 'too English' for US

Category: RockNRolla News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: August 13, 2008 | Publication: Daily Telegraph | Author: Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor
Publication/Article Link:Daily Telegraph

Guy Ritchie could be heading for another cinematic flop after the Hollywood studio behind his new film said it was too English to be a commercial success.

Ritchie, the director otherwise known as Madonna's husband, has high hopes for his comeback vehicle, RocknRolla.

The gangster film is a tale of Russian mobsters in London's underworld and has echoes of his debut hit, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

It premieres in the UK next month and is set for a US release in October.

But Alan Horn, president of Warner Bros, has delivered some bad news for Ritchie.

"I think it's a well-made picture, but while it's funny in spots, it's very English," he told the Los Angeles Times. "I don't think it's broadly commercial. It feels like a film that deserves a spirited release, but not a wide one."

The film's producer, Joel Silver, has a deal with Warner Bros entitling his films to be released on 800 screens. Horn said: "For now, we're preparing to release the film in October, but I don't see it starting out on 800 screens."

Silver has reportedly shown the film to executives from rival studios Lionsgate and Sony Pictures, in the hope of finding a new buyer who will throw their marketing might behind the project.

Horn conceded that Warner Bros "might not be willing to spend the marketing money" that Silver wants, adding: "If Joel is thinking there is someone out there willing to spend twice as much money as we're willing to, I'm sure he will pursue that."

According to the Los Angeles Times, those who have seen the film say it is "not bad at all". Horn claimed the real problem is that Warner Bros has too many films to distribute, after merging with smaller company New Line, and prefers to concentrate its marketing spend on blockbusters such as The Dark Knight and the forthcoming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Other British films could suffer the same fate as RocknRolla, with Horn naming Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire and questioning whether Warner's "can really do it justice".

Ritchie released Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in 1998 to great acclaim and followed it up two years later with Snatch, starring Brad Pitt.

But Swept Away, his 2002 film in which Madonna played a spoilt socialite washed up on a desert island, was universally panned. His last film, Revolver, was released in 2005 to general indifference.

RocknRolla stars Thandie Newton and Gerard Butler, but features no A-list stars to tempt US audiences. Instead, the cast includes British talents Mark Strong, Tom Hardy and Tom Wilkinson, alongside new Bond girl Gemma Arterton.