You might think a glossy Hollywood biopic about Thomas Edison starring Benedict Cumberbatch alongside Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland and Tuppence Middleton would be a sure-fire money-spinner. But think again, because The Current War has been in the can since late 2017 and it’s only now getting a release. Why has the film suffered this fate? Well, primarily because it’s got Harvey Weinstein’s gross-ass fingerprints all over it.
Originally due to be released on November 24th, 2017, the pic was pulled from the schedule in the wake of the sexual abuse allegations against Weinstein. Ordinarily, him simply producing a film wouldn’t have been a death sentence for its commercial prospects, but he reportedly had a much more of a direct hand in this one.
In addition, Cumberbatch went on the record to say the following:
“I am utterly disgusted by the continuing revelations of Harvey Weinstein’s horrifying and unforgivable actions…We need to collectively stand up and support victims of abuse such as the brave and inspiring women who have spoken out against him and say we hear you and believe you.”
The property of The Weinstein Company is now owned by Lantern Capital Partners, who’ve teamed up with 13 Films in order to get this movie out the door and recoup at least some of the budget.
But don’t think you’re getting some lost classic unfairly kept from audiences. The Current War was screened at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival where it received mostly negative reviews. It’s currently sitting pretty at 33% on the Tomatometer, with critics describing it as “torpidly slow,” “unable to generate even the slightest bit of interest,” “an un-involving bore” and “utterly forgettable.”
We don’t have any precise details on when 13 Films and Lantern Capital Partners plan to release The Current War, but my bet is that it’ll see a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it contract-fulfilling theatrical run before being dumped onto VOD in the hope of finding some kind of audience. While Weinstein’s gigantic and entirely deserved fall from grace has been well documented, it’s perhaps appropriate that one of the final films he’s been involved in is apparently a huge turkey.