'The Alamo' Set for New April 2004 Release Date

Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by jlambrig, Oct 29, 2003.

  1. jlambrig

    jlambrig Let's Go Red Wings<br><font color="#1daf84">Made t

    Mar 26, 2002
    Got this from CBS Marketwatch

    CBS Marketwatch link

    What was the original release date? Has anyone heard anything different as to why this was changed, e.g. poor early reviews?

    I do agree that large ensembles pose problems but I didn't hear this about any of the LOTR films. Makes me wonder what might be really going on with this one.
  2. Keyser

    Keyser DIS Veteran

    Aug 19, 1999
    I don't know a "real" story on why it was moved, but I know the original release date (Christmas, this year) was horrible. It was about a week after LOTR: Return of the King, and was scheduled for the same day of release as 3 or 4 other movies that also stood chances of doing well (the other movies have lead actors like Steve Martin, Ben Affleck, etc.). I think a different release date will certainly help its chances of success. There was another thread that gave this information - I think in the big thread on Pirates of the Carribean.
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  4. WDWguru

    WDWguru aka tivogirl, keeper of the live WDW webcams at ht

    Jun 29, 2001
    It was opening on Christmas to get in under the wire for Oscar contention. It happens all the time with major studios. The requirement for Oscar contention is to open in New York and LA before the end of the year, so that's what they do. It's highly likely it would have been released "wide" to the rest of the country on a different weekend, probably in January.

    This does two things: gets it in for Oscar contention and gives it a box office boost since most movies opening in January are crap. The official statement is that the moviemakers wanted more time to work on it. My guess? Test screenings didn't go well and they are re-shooting or re-editing.
  5. floridaminnie

    floridaminnie Enjoying life one adventure at a time.

    Mar 4, 2002
    THis was one I was looking forward to seeing on my New Year's Disney Cruise. :(
  6. Grog

    Grog <font color=green>Semper Gumby<br><font color=deep

    Jun 11, 2000
    The Christmas opening was chosen before the movie went into post production. Filming wrapped in July. Five months of post production would have been cutting it very close. The Oscar consideration was another factor. Movies that open at the end of the year are fresh in the minds of Oscar voters.

    Not that The Alamo is going to be another Titanic, but the same doom and gloomers were predicting all sorts of problems when Titanic's release was pushed back. We all know how that story ended.
  7. fireplug

    fireplug <font color=red>Keeper of the Flame<br><font color

    Dec 24, 2001
    Yup The ship sank:hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper:


    PS: In the Alamo the Mexican Army wins. OOPs spilled the beans:teeth: :teeth:
  8. WDWguru

    WDWguru aka tivogirl, keeper of the live WDW webcams at ht

    Jun 29, 2001
    More on this from Studio Briefing (via IMDB Pro) yesterday:

    Last week's announced decision to delay the opening of Disney's The Alamo came after test audiences reacted angrily to the depiction of Davy Crockett as a coward begging for his life in front of General Santa Ana, the Scotsman has reported. It said that preview audiences told researchers that the film's producers were going overboard to make the film "politically correct" in order to appeal to Mexican-Americans and other U.S. Hispanics. The newspaper commented: "Any Texan worth his lizard skin boots and Willie Nelson albums knows better than to smear the legend of Davy Crockett."

  9. Grog

    Grog <font color=green>Semper Gumby<br><font color=deep

    Jun 11, 2000

    Web abuzz over delay on 'Alamo'

    By Joe O'Connell
    Special to the Express-News

    Web Posted : 11/12/2003 12:00 AM

    "On December 25, 2003, you will never forget."

    That heading for a teacher's guide to Disney's upcoming "The Alamo" has new meaning for some fans after the film's delayed release: They'll never forget that popcorn-munching Californians messed with Texas.

    The official Disney press release cites a need by director John Lee Hancock for "additional time to complete this great movie" as the reason for the delay from Christmas Day to an unspecified day in April.

    One Hollywood insider requesting anonymity had a more pessimistic outlook: Disney has viewed the film as "damaged goods" from the day Ron Howard dropped out as director, reportedly because he wanted to make an R-rated film, instead of the PG-13 version ultimately created.

    Another view has Disney backing off from a very competitive Christmas film schedule that includes the final chapter of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "The Last Samurai," "Master and Commander" and "Cold Mountain."

    But the buzz among fans who crowd online film discussion boards points to the only two "Alamo" test screenings, one in Pasadena and the other in Orange County. Both in California, some Texas fans are quick to note.

    "They were divided," said Harry Knowles, founder of the Austin-based Web site Ain't It Cool News, which has built a reputation through "spy" reports from test screenings. "Some people hated every character in the thing but liked the battle. Other people hated everything but liked Billy Bob's portrayal of Crockett."

    Comparisons have been made to "Pearl Harbor," another Disney epic that began with high hopes and a big budget, saw that budget cut back and then faced criticism for a plot that was boring and misdirected. The "Alamo" budget dropped from a reported $125 million to an official tally from Disney of $90 million at the end of filming.

    Like "Pearl Harbor," Disney has invested heavily in "The Alamo," including commissioning a novelization of the script and producing a separate film about the making of the movie.

    Knowles received more than a dozen e-mails from viewers who attended each "Alamo" press screening. Their complaints revolved around the film's focus, almost three-hour length and pace.

    "I generally don't mind long movies, but this one stuck out as long," one Pasadena test-screener who calls himself Liquid Havok wrote to Knowles. "I won't ruin any of the movie but suffice to say this film throws you into the Alamo pretty quick. Not a lot of exposition but what is there is a bit confusing even for one like myself who is moderately versed in Alamo lore. And then the waiting begins."

    That waiting period was all about building up the characters' back stories, the viewer wrote.

    "Because of the amount of main characters, all are a bit thin and can quickly be reduced to stereotypes or cliches," he wrote. "Jim Bowie was a lot like Doc Holliday from 'Tombstone,' except less drunk. Travis was the typical young rookie officer forced to be a hero. In an attempt to 'play down' Crockett, I fear they have almost ruined him."

    An Orange County test-screener who calls himself Sir Whoopee wrote to Knowles that the first hour of the movie could be cut in half to remove "fluff."

    "Two of my friends literally fell asleep during this section of the film," the viewer wrote. "It was really sad. It's not until the first cannon fires that the film gets interesting."

    Knowles, who said he read many of the early drafts of the script as it went through a series of different writers, believes the problem comes with the film's effort to show both sides of the battle.

    The movie "didn't have a focus," he said. "When you're telling the story of the Alamo, you kind of have to choose a side. When you don't, dramatically no one cares who wins or loses."

    Knowles said the only certainty for "The Alamo" at this point is change.

    "They're probably exploring radical changes, maybe reshoots," he said. "A totally different and better film can come out of that, or something worse."

    Visitors to Thealamofilm.com, a Web site run by 23-year-old Brownsville resident and former University of Texas film student Nick Medrano, have been less critical of the film, concentrating their complaints on its length.

    "The people who wrote me said they loved it," said Medrano, who spent six months on the set as an extra. "They said it was emotionally involving. They did care for the characters."

    Medrano thinks the delay may be a blessing.

    "I'm happy it got delayed," he said. "Maybe this way John Lee (Hancock) doesn't have to worry about all of the pressure of 'Lord of the Rings.' I think his heart is where a lot of ours are as Alamo fans."

    A test-screener going by the name Zephyr wrote Medrano that Thornton gives the film's finest performance as a "country fellow, tired of the publicity and the limelight and looking for a new opportunity."

    But Zephyr questioned the continuation of the story beyond the Alamo battle and on to the Battle of San Jacinto, where Sam Houston defeats Santa Anna.

    "This was obviously added to make the film less of a 'downer,' but does cause the deadly question to enter the audience's mind, 'How much more is there to this film?'"

    Thealamofilm.com's discussion boards are buzzing with talk of the delay, including such California-bashing as "Too many freaks and crazies out there!"

    The delay clearly will involve some recutting, and possibly reshoots. That would be good news for those who benefited from the six-month shoot both at the Alamo set constructed on more than 50 acres near Dripping Springs and on an 840-acre ranch in Bastrop where the Battle of San Jacinto lensed.

    At the family-owned Bert & Ernie's General Store just down the road from the Alamo set, Sandra Soto misses the extra income the film brought and holds out hope reshoots will again pump up business.

    "It was kind of like when you get a bonus at work," Soto said of the constant stream of "Alamo" workers — including Thornton — who made their way in for sodas, beer and tacos. "We didn't turn into millionaires, but we got a little bonus."

    Store patrons aren't pleased with the delay.

    "They're like, 'What a bummer.' A lot of people were looking forward to going to the premiere," she said. "One guy said there's never ever been a good Dennis Quaid movie. People say they should have stuck with Russell Crowe" as Sam Houston.

    Would-be gawkers often stop in asking how to get to the set, which remains in place behind a locked gate on private land.

    "I tell them they moved it to Bastrop," Soto joked.

    The San Antonio village and Alamo sets didn't relocate to Bastrop, but the filming came to Jim Small's family ranch when a Piney Woods locale was needed for the Battle of San Jacinto.

    "I'm real disappointed," Small said. "I thought the movie would be a blockbuster. Well, they've got four months to work with. Maybe they can clean it up."

    Since filmmakers pulled up stakes, Small has reinvented his land into a nature ranch. A small cabin available for rent is stocked with props left over from the film.

    "They made it worth our while," Small said. "Besides the payments, they made good improvements. They put in electrical service and five phone lines, and they covered the road with clay."

    Small also spent plenty of time on the set, watching the action and snapping more than 400 photos.

    "Some of the scenes with Dennis Quaid didn't look that great to me, but the battle scene was incredible," he said.

    Filmmakers erected two towering cranes and attached a cable between them capable of zooming a camera over the soldiers' heads at 60 mph, Small said.

    That also led to what some test-screeners called the most impressive shot in the film: a bird's-eye view of a cannonball streaking across the sky.

  10. year2late

    year2late <font color=green>I bite off the head of <font col

    Apr 28, 2001
    Maybe if they had Johnny Depp as Davy Crockett (doing another Kieth Richards impersonation) the test audiences would have been kinder.
  11. Planogirl

    Planogirl I feel the nerd in me stirring

    Aug 11, 2000
    The character of Davy Crockett is a problem for everyone right now. The feeling is that he did not fight to the end as often depicted but actually surrendered to the Mexican army. Under what circumstances he met his death is unclear though but him begging for mercy seems like a bit much.

    There is an excellent IMAX film about the Alamo story playing continually in San Antonio. It would be strange if that film ended up being better than the new one.
  12. floridaminnie

    floridaminnie Enjoying life one adventure at a time.

    Mar 4, 2002
    That doesn't play well in my book. Every thinks of Davy Crockett as NEVER surrendering and him begging for mercy. PLEASE!

    Also Disney wanted a PG-13 versus an R rated movie and lost a wonderful director. I've stopped counting how many R rated movies have been released lately, b/c there has been so many.
  13. Grog

    Grog <font color=green>Semper Gumby<br><font color=deep

    Jun 11, 2000
    Here's an interview with Billy Bob Thornton, in which he talks about the delay (sorry, couldn't get the link to work)

    Thornton talks about the delay of 'The Alamo' (a 'pretty amazing' film) and about donning a coonskin cap early in life

    By Chris Garcia
    American-Statesman Film Writer

    Posted: November 21, 2003

    As a boy in Arkansas, Billy Bob Thornton used to pretend he was Davy Crockett, sanctified warrior at the battle of the Alamo. He wore the coonskin cap — "the whole rig," Thornton chuckles. It's a Southern thing, the actor says with a sleepy drawl that's also a Southern thing.

    Thornton doesn't claim his callow playacting some 40 years ago readied him to play Crockett in the $80 million Disney epic "The Alamo," which was filmed in Austin, Dripping Springs and Bastrop from January to June this year.

    In fact, probably the only thing his youthful Crockett and the one in the film have in common is that coonskin cap. Researching the historical Crockett, Thornton was careful to extract the man from the legend. His Crockett is a "normal human being" with all the foibles and feelings that distinction implies. He's not a vainglorious superhero.

    "Who wants to play him like John Wayne?" Thornton says. "That's ridiculous. That's not the way people are."

    Thornton spoke by phone from his Los Angeles home to promote his new dark comedy "Bad Santa," in which he plays just that: a smoking, swearing, alcoholic, ex-convict who works as a mall Santa. Directed by Terry Zwigoff ("Crumb"), the R-rated movie opens Wednesday.

    But instead of chatting up that movie, the actor-writer-director, who won a best screenplay Oscar for "Sling Blade" in 1997, talked about "The Alamo," which co-stars Dennis Quaid as Sam Houston and Jason Patric as James Bowie. He was eager to explain why Disney postponed the movie's release from Christmas Day to April 2004.

    "It's very simple," Thornton says. "From the very beginning they wanted to put it out at Christmas, because that's the awards season and everything. Problem is, we shot all the way through June and it's a huge epic movie. It was way too ambitious to think they were going to get it ready for Christmas. They were rushing it. Finally (director) John Lee Hancock told the studio he was going to have to take his time cutting this thing. There's also a lot of post-production work to do on a movie like this. The sound work alone is astronomical."

    Early test screenings of "The Alamo" took a beating by some Internet reviewers, who complained the film was an overlong, clichéd melodrama marked by bad acting and a lack of focus. According to the rumor mill, that's why Disney moved the opening date.

    Thornton scoffs at these reports.

    "There's nothing disastrous about (the movie)," he says. "They were showing it without a final cut. It was just scenes strung together. I've seen about half of the film. What I saw was amazing."

    For a movie as gritty as "The Alamo," which is rated PG-13, Thornton prefers a nonholiday release.

    "I think it's a better time for it. It's a pretty heavy movie," Thornton says. "Otherwise, you'd be watching 189 people get slaughtered at the Alamo on Christmas Day. It's a good thing businesswise, too. In April it's not going to be up against every other big movie."

    It's not uncommon for Hollywood to release violent R-rated movies such as "Gangs of New York" and "Black Hawk Down" during the holidays. Like "The Alamo," these are prestige pictures that jostle for year-end awards and best-of lists. "The Alamo" is out of the running this year, but Thornton thinks the movie is strong enough to be a contender in 2004.

    Thornton is best known for writing, directing and starring in "Sling Blade," where he played Karl, a mentally retarded man with a chronic slouch and grunting speech. Recently, the performer's colorful, failed marriage to actress Angelina Jolie has overshadowed his work, including the tours and CDs Thornton has produced with his roots-rock band.

    Still, he remains a star with the image of a country bad boy who, at age 48, refuses to burnish his image. About the Crockett role, "Alamo" co-star Quaid told Thornton that he's "a hillbilly star playing a hillbilly star."

    He's also a "regular guy," and that's how Thornton wanted Crockett to be.

    "Crockett was an outgoing, friendly politician. He wasn't like this earnest bear hunter. He loved to hang out with people and tell stories and play fiddle. He kind of loved life, and I play him that way," says Thornton. "And I play him as a guy who sees a very serious consequence. He was a legend in his own time and suddenly found himself having to live up to it."

    In at least one interview, the actor has described Crockett as "scared," because "he wasn't sure what he had gotten himself into," and there have been Internet rumors that the character does the unspeakable — begs for mercy at the feet of the Mexican army.

    "I don't beg for my life at all," Thornton says. "That's absurd."

    Thornton spent five months in and around Austin while shooting "The Alamo." Most of the film was shot at Reimer's Ranch in Dripping Springs, where a massive re-creation of San Antonio de Bexar, including the Alamo, remains the largest standing movie set in North America.

    "It's pretty impressive. The first time I saw it I was blown away," says Thornton. "You see the Alamo and this town they built and Mexican soldiers on the hill with all these tents. It was actually kind of chilling."

    He loves the Austin music scene and was spotted periodically at the Saxon Pub watching his friend Stephen Bruton perform and at Antone's. Thornton's own band played at South by Southwest in March and the Willie Nelson Picnic in July.

    Thornton knows Texans are anxious about "The Alamo" and how it reconciles myth with the historical record. Texans, he says, shouldn't be "too nervous about it."

    "I've seen a great deal of the movie and I think it's pretty amazing. I think they're going to be pretty happy."

    cgarcia@statesman.com; 445-3649
  14. raidermatt

    raidermatt Beware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggression

    Sep 26, 2000
    As ususal, I guess we'll have to wait and see...

    I do think its dangerous (from a box office pov) to take an icon like Davy Crockett and not only portray him as a regular person, but to speculate on what would be perceived as faults, like begging for his life. But if what Thornton says is true, perhaps that's overblown.

    Still, wouldn't it be ironic for Disney to have trouble with portraying Crockett as a man with faults due in part to their own film series they made some 40+ years ago?

    This is similar to one of the criticisms of Pearl Harbor, for what that's worth.
  15. Planogirl

    Planogirl I feel the nerd in me stirring

    Aug 11, 2000
    I think that Texans are starting to accept that Crockett was a human (but don't mess with Sam Houston! ;) ) but the idea of him begging for his life won't go over. So it's good to read Billy Bob deny that.

    I also think that moving the movie away from Billy Bob's Bad Santa role is actually a good idea too. I would hate for people to associate the two characters.
  16. Another Voice

    Another Voice Charter Member of The Element

    Jan 27, 2000
    Okay, lots of rumors around this one.

    This movie has had more writers involved than that twenty page list of Michael Jackson jokes flying around the Internet. I read an older script that was the basis for getting Ron Howard involved with the project. After Ron quit, the script went through more changes. Even more changes happened during filming, more during editing, and even more will happen during whatever will happen now.

    First, on Crockett. This character was my favorite from the version I read. The part was writing was very much a "real man". He was a man haunted by the legend that had been created around him and he was afraid that he could never live up to be the man other people expected him to be (one could say he was haunted by Davy Crockett). It was very subtly done with a lot of care. When he is offered the chance to leave the Alamo he says (as best I can remember) that "I'd leave, but Davy Crockett wouldn't". The rest of the scene implies that the choice is between staying and becoming 'Davy Crockett' even if it means death, or fleeing to live happily and namelessly as himself. He chooses to stay and become the man he wished he had really been.

    Powerful stuff.

    And that was the point of the draft. It wasn't a matter of which side you were on, the "heros" in this version of The Alamo choose a higher purpose (even at a great cost); the "villians" choose themselves.

    But from everything I've heard all the revisions have stripped most of this from the film. In the end it's mostly an action piece with selected "marketing demographically appropriate" character bits put in (a polite way of saying the PC inclusion of Cuba Godding Jr. in Pearl Harbor). There's one rumor that a scene where a young Texan solider meets and a young Mexican soldier at the very height for a battle is drawing laugher from test audiences for the "why can't we all get along" antics.

    Other complaints are that the actually battle runs way too long (even though there are lots of explosions), a lot of characters are introduced for seemingly no purpose, and that the film drags well past the Alamo just to have a "happy" ending (again, much like Pearl Harbor). How much if this is going to fixed with editing and how much will have to be reshot is unknown. I have heard another rumor that because of the delays and changes, this version of The Alamo will cost more than the Ron Howard version that Eisner cancelled over cost and rating.

    The film was scheduled for a December release not only for the Oscars but also because that's also the big office time for epics. April, the new release date, is pretty much a box office ghetto. Too late for the holiday season, too early for summer.

    It's a place to dump films you want to have people quickly forget.
  17. Uncleromulus

    Uncleromulus Plain grey will be fine

    Jan 28, 2001
    Several recent books out about the Alamo, and the general feeling seems to be that Crockett probably did surrender. I had always "believed" the surrender stories were fabrication, but now I'm sort of leaning the other way. One suggestion is that he surrendered hoping the Mexicans might "recognize" that he was a man of some importance back in the US (former Congressman, etc) and spare his life for that reason. Santa Anna--who had already issued a "no quarter" decree, wasn't really in a position to do much else except order him killed along with the several others who surrendered.
    And I wonder if the film will show that a # of "Texicans" were killed fleeing the Alamo, cut down by Mexican cavalry outside the Mission while trying to escape??
    It's tough to make a film like this when no one knows --for certain--the exact truth, and when there is a certain passion for Davy Crockett that won't admit he could have died any other way than going down fighting. But even if he did surrender, no doubt he fought hard and well throughout the battle---.
  18. Grog

    Grog <font color=green>Semper Gumby<br><font color=deep

    Jun 11, 2000
    I'm wondering that too. It's believed by some historians that the garrison may have been reinforced up to as many as 220-250 men in the final days (up from the popular figure of about 180, but still not enough to man the lengthy perimeter). When the outcome was no longer in doubt after the Mexicans breached the North wall, as many as 60 are believed to have tried to escape over the East wall, where there were some trees and bushes to give cover. Anticipating this, since this was the only wall not assaulted by infantry, Santa Anna had ordered the Mexican cavalry to patrol this area and the escapees were ridden down and killed.

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