As studios have been forced to postpone not only the release dates but the production of their tentpoles, resulting in millions upon millions of dollars in lost revenue, we imagine in a post-coronavirus age Hollywood will want to place their bets on the safest possible moneymakers, appealing to four-quadrant, all-audience crowdpleasers. This, unfortunately, means many of the most interesting projects in the pipeline will start being second-guessed. The first target of this grim new scenario looks to be Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon.
Based on the stellar book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann and scripted by Eric Roth, production was set to already be underway in Oklahoma with Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio leading the cast. The pandemic has not only disrupted the shoot, but Scorsese is now looking for a new studio home as Paramount has reportedly balked at the $200-plus million budget. According to Wall Street Journal, Scorsese’s team is talking with Netflix and Apple to see if they’d produce and/or distribute the film.
Scorsese has, of course, a relationship with Netflix already as they picked up The Irishman after many studios, including Paramount, passed due to the hefty budget. However, Apple is in dire need of worthwhile content and this could make a major acquisition for them if they were to go through with it. Paramount isn’t quite yet out of the deal entirely as they are reportedly open to teaming with another company to produce and distribute. In our dream scenario, one of the streaming giants could help to foot the hefty production budget but Paramount would still give the film a proper theatrical release, followed by an exclusive release on one of the streaming platforms.
“We think it’s a western,” Scorsese recently said. “It happened in 1921-1922 in Oklahoma. They are certainly cowboys, but they have cars and also horses. The film is mainly about the Osage, an Indian tribe that was given horrible territory, which they loved because they said to themselves that Whites would never be interested in it. Then we discovered oil there and, for about ten years, the Osage became the richest people in the world, per capita. Then, as with the Yukon and the Colorado mining regions, the vultures disembark, the White man, the European arrives, and all was lost. There, the underworld had such control over everything that you were more likely to go to jail for killing a dog than for killing an Indian.”