Earlier today, Paramount announced that they will no longer be distributing The Little Prince.
The film, an adaptation of the beloved classic French novella of the same name, was released this past summer overseas. It was met with critical praise, and an English dub of the movie with an A-lister cast was ready way back when. Paramount had revealed back in mid-2014 at the annual Licensing Expo that they would be the ones to distribute the film here in the states, which made sense since Paramount was ready to launch their in-house animation studio.
Paramount Animation was formed in 2011 after DreamWorks announced that they wouldn't be staying with the mountain distributor, later confirming that they would head to Fox after the final film in the distribution deal - Rise of the Guardians - was released. Paramount Animation's first film was a safe bet, but one that paid off nicely: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water. Since then? It seems like they've been off to a rough start.
Monster Trucks, a hybrid feature from director Chris Wedge and writers Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger (both wrote the Kung Fu Panda films), and Derek Connelly (Jurassic World, Safety Not Guaranteed), was originally meant to follow SpongeBob in May... It got pushed back to Christmas 2015. Then this very month, this very year. Next Friday was supposed to be the opening day. It had that date for a long while, until Paramount pushed it all the way back to January 13, 2017!
Paramount then filled the void with The Little Prince, and released a US trailer for it... Only to pull it today.
They won't release it, period.
So that means the movie is up for grabs. Who will take it? I have a feeling it's either going to be Focus or Lionsgate...
Focus, under their Gramercy label, will release Ratchet & Clank next month. If it goes into their hands, we'll probably have to wait till mid-summer or later to finally get this picture. Think a Shaun the Sheep Movie-type situation.
Lionsgate, who distributed Shaun last year, might lock into it. The Little Prince, to be honest, will most likely not be one of those must-see films to the public. A shame, but we know how that goes, so I reckon a smaller studio will get it and give it the usual garden variety marketing. If not any...
Hopefully it gets a big-screen release, some way or another.
I don't know about Paramount right now. Prior to this, they botched Anomalisa. They said a wide release would follow in January, but as January rolled by, we didn't hear of any concrete release date. The film ultimately opened in roughly 150 theaters, even with the Oscars on the horizon... The $8 million-costing film could've made a healthy profit, I believe. But no, Paramount didn't really do anything with it.
So that's two strikes right now. Hopefully next year's better for them, when they finally release the still-super-secret Monster Trucks. Apparently all of the live-action portions of that film are complete... The picture shot back in spring 2014! Paramount also intends to release co-productions with the Spanish studio Ilion, but I don't think that's going to amount to anything, considering that they gave the studio's Capture the Flag a tiny Oscar-qualifying run. After Monster Trucks, nothing until Sherlock Gnomes in 2018, and SpongeBob 3 and Amusement Park in 2019.
Yeah, it's taking them a little while to take off!
What's your take on all of this? Will The Little Prince be picked up by another distributor? Why do you think Paramount is having rough starts with its animation studio? Sound off below!
UPDATE - 3/12/2016
Director Mark Osborne has spoken...
1/3 Many thanks to everyone for the outpouring of love and support in these strange times.— Mark Osborne (@happyproduct) March 12, 2016
2/3 - As it turns out, the much anticipated U.S. release of this special and unique film will have to be anticipated just a little bit more.— Mark Osborne (@happyproduct) March 12, 2016
3/3 - All I can say is #thelittleprince will in fact be released by another distributor later this year.— Mark Osborne (@happyproduct) March 12, 2016
4/4 - Until then, head to Canada! The film opens there in wide release this weekend!— Mark Osborne (@happyproduct) March 12, 2016
There you have it. Another distributor will indeed pick it up. I'm guessing they'll dump it in August or September. October 2016 is currently open as well.
Please let it not be Weinstein, please let it not be Weinstein...