UPDATE (12/31/14): The Hollywood Reporter states that Variety’s original report was incorrect, writing that Lost River will indeed receive a limited theatrical release from Warner Bros.. According to THR, the dark fantasy will screen in New York and L.A. theaters and receive a day-and-date release across digital platforms sometime in the second quarter of 2015.
ORIGINAL (12/30/14): With Hollywood It Guy Ryan Gosling sitting behind the camera and directing a talented ensemble cast that included Christina Hendricks, Matt Smith and Eva Mendes, dark fantasy Lost River seemed like a surefire success just a year ago. Ahead of its anticipated debut at Cannes, Warner Bros. snapped up the film for a reported $3 million, with plans to capitalize on what was sure to be another big hit for Gosling.
Something unexpected happened at Cannes, though – critics completely sunk their teeth into the pic, deriding it as a messy, ugly disaster. Lost River was not without its defenders – Gosling’s Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn called it “a beautiful, beautiful, great movie that will grow on people,” stating that, “There are images from it that still stick with me” – but for the most part, reviews were extremely unkind.
Now, Warner Bros., chastened by the reception, has revealed that it won’t be sending Lost River to theaters at all, as previously planned. Instead, it will drop the title on VOD and DVD/Blu-Ray sometime in April. Essentially, after failing to pawn the film off on an indie house or specialty distributor, the studio has decided to cut its losses, bury Gosling’s directorial debut and be done with it.
That’s a pretty insulting fate for Lost River, but I guess we should be glad that we’re seeing the movie at all. Gosling has purportedly created a very visually distinctive atmosphere for the flick, and despite the film’s alleged narrative shortcomings, it should be interesting to see what he picked up from working with Winding Refn on Drive and Only God Forgives. A supporting cast that also includes Ben Mendelsohn, Saoirse Ronan and Iain De Caestecker certainly sweetens the deal, though we’ll temper our expectations appropriately given how roughly it landed at Cannes.
Tell us, do you want to see what Gosling created in Lost River, or will the bad buzz keep you away?