Stay with me, folks. This is one of the most confounding and confusing tales of distributing a film in recent memory. TIFF favourite The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is set for release in theatres this fall. Or to be more exact, three releases in theatres this fall. One two-hour cut of the romance starring James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain, subtitled Them, will come out on September 26. A month to six weeks later, two films – one subtitled Him, following McAvoy’s character, and one subtitled Her, following Chastain’s – will come out in limited release.
So, moviegoers have two options: they can either see the truncated two-hour cut, or wait a few weeks and see two separate films that focus more on the respective stories of married couple Eleanor Rigby (Chastain) and Connor Ludlow (McAvoy). While this may not be hard to follow as a news story, it could be a challenge for The Weinstein Company to advertise to audiences who do not know about the film’s different viewing options.
The 119-minute version (Them) will debut at Cannes in a couple of weeks, while the two separate films (Him and Her, no relation to Spike Jonze’s drama), premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival in a rough cut that was over three hours.
Director Ned Benson, making his feature debut, spoke to Deadline about making three distinct versions of the same story, and had the following to say:
“The idea of creating a third way to see this story, to have a two-hour relationship film or give the viewer the choice of seeing it in the three hour, two-part perspective is one of the most educational film experiences I’ve had in my life,” he says. “And the outcome is mind-blowing, like hitting the lottery.”
Benson also revealed that unlike other films that The Weinstein Company threatened to trim – Grace of Monaco, Snowpiercer – the idea to release three versions of the same film was the distributor’s. However, he did ask to see if the longer story could be trimmed down and function as a singular drama.
Keep an eye out for The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby‘s potentially muddled ad campaign later this year and let us know in the comments which version you’ll be seeing.
Source: The Film Stage