In early 2016, I wrote a piece about Hollywood being obsessed with Hollywood. The industry released a host of films in the early 2010s chronicling stories of the film and TV industry: “The Artist”, “Hugo”, “Argo”, “Hitchcock”, “Saving Mr. Banks”, “Birdman”, “Trumbo”, “Youth” and “Hail, Caesar!” These added to the already plentiful entries in the genre, including “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, “Ed Wood”, “L.A. Confidential”, “Boogie Nights”, “The Truman Show”, “The Aviator”, “Bewitched”, “For Your Consideration” and “Tropic Thunder”.
In looking back at that piece, I noted that the upcoming musical “La La Land” was set for release that July. I hadn’t thought about it in a while, but it’s true. Lionsgate originally had “La La Land” opening in the middle of the summer (for many days of sun at the box office). But it’s clear that when the studio realized what they had, “LLL” HAD to be moved to December and Awards Season.
Interestingly, Sony stuck with the July release date for this week’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, directed by multi-Oscar winner Quentin Tarantino. His take on some of the glory days of motion pictures stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. It’s also, in pure Tarantino fashion, rather long, at 2 hours and 39 minutes.
But Tarantino’s previous two films, “Django Unchained” and “The Hateful Eight”, came out in December. The film before that, “Inglorious Basterds”, was an August release. Even more interestingly, “Once Upon” is Tarantino’s first Sony film. “Reservoir Dogs”, “Pulp Fiction”, “Jackie Brown” and “Kill Bill” were distributed by Miramax – a studio that was absorbed into Disney about a decade ago and has rarely been heard from since. Then he went to The Weinstein Company for “Death Proof” (part of the “Grindhouse” Double Feature) and his three most recent features. Of course, that studio is now a goner.
Is Sony next? I certainly don’t think so, and they’ve clearly welcomed Tarantino with open arms. They also have a big Fall season ahead, with the reboot of “Charlie’s Angels”, “Jumanji: The Next Level” and awards contenders “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers) and director Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women”. It would’ve been a mistake to save “Once Upon” until the end of the year. It’s very crowded already.
Fans of Tarantino, and of movies in general, are ready RIGHT NOW to see this filmmaking master put his stamp on the “Hollywood on Hollywood” genre.