Blake Lively‘s “The Rhythm Section,” Fox/Disney‘s “Ad Astra,” and Netflix‘s “Eli.” Every season has a frame where films are scheduled for release, the clock is ticking down to that date and no marketing materials have been released, causing audiences and film writers to ask what’s going on? 2019, as suggested has had several of these films, with clearly troubled productions. And, of course, Lionsgate‘s “Chaos Walking” from director Doug Liman (“Edge Of Tomorrow,” “Go,” “Jumper“) is in this boat too.
Starring Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, and Mads Mikkelsen, “Chaos Walking” is based on the book “The Knife of Never Letting Go” and Charlie Kaufman is one of the writers who adapted the screenplay (though foreshadowing where this piece is going, there’s been six writers credited for working on this thing). It’s set in a dystopian world where there are no women and all living creatures can hear each other’s’ thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called Noise.
Currently undergoing reshoots which Tom Holland has been posting about on Instagram, principal photography on the film began August 7, 2017, and was previously set for a March 1, 2019 release date. That date came and went and during a Lionsgate Entertainment earnings call earlier this year, the company confirmed the film would miss that date and would instead come out sometime in 2020.
Well, the Wall Street Journal, in a piece about the financial difficulties and challenges Lionsgate is currently facing, has shed some more light on “Chaos Walking” and all of it is essentially unflattering. WSJ calls the film a “major challenge” for the company and the movie has already cost $100 million to produce. But the real kicker is a film that allegedly “turned out so poorly it was deemed unreleasable by executives who watched initial cuts last year, according to current and former employees.”
Lionsgate delayed the film’s planned March release and is about to begin three weeks of additional production, at a cost of millions more, in the hope that new scenes will improve its commercial prospects. “We wouldn’t be shooting more if we didn’t think we could make this movie work,” said Mr. Feltheimer.
That’s all the WSJ has to say about “Chaos Walking,” but this wouldn’t be the first time director Doug Liman has worked on a runaway train. This has been such a common occurrence for Liman, you have to wonder how much latitude a director gets before there is some kind of consequences.
Liman has presided over such notoriously troubled productions such as “The Bourne Identity” (so bad, it got him fired from the franchise and basically kicked out of the editing room), “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” and ” Edge of Tomorrow.” The commonality of all these films, however, is that they were huge hits. In short, Liman’s shoots are chaotic, often undergo crazy amounts of reshoots and cost a lot of money—”Edge Of Tomorrow” had writers on set trying to figure out how to save the movie and it worked—but actors like Tom Cruise love him and maybe that’s all that matters? His reputation definitely proceeds him in Hollywood though, so maybe all it will take is one expensive flop.
Could “Chaos Walking” be it? Time will tell, but don’t be looking for that trailer anytime soon, you’re looking at a film that’s at least eight months away from release if not more.