Universal Pictures has nixed plans to release Joe Carnahan’s comedy-thriller Stretch on its scheduled March 21st release date. Although it made our “Most Anticipated” list for the first quarter of 2014, no replacement date is currently set up. It’s a bit of an odd move, especially for the normally successful production banner of Jason Blum, Blumhouse Productions, which specializes in turning low-budget pictures into big box office returns. Universal allowed Blum to shop the picture to other distributors, but when a deal couldn’t be reached, the rights reverted back to the studio, which is now “exploring creative options” for release. Hit the jump for more.
[Update: We’ve updated the article with comments on the situation from Carnahan himself.]
[Update: Carnahan took to Twitter last night to comment on the status of the film:
Guys. Bottom line. STRETCH is fucking great. It’s funny. It’s touching. It’s unique and @patrickwilson73 is absolutely brilliant in it. I can talk shit & argue with that idiotic @THR story but brass tacks, that movie works & you will all be fast fans of it when you see it. I think it’s as good or better than my best film & say that from the bottom of my heart. This movie will make it to you, trust me. Guys, the movie is gonna find its audience & that audience will love it. Whether that happens now or later is irrelevant. It’s gonna happen.
Our original story follows below.]
THR reports that Stretch is currently in a state of flux. In the film, Patrick Wilson plays a chauffeur who picks up a difficult and devious billionaire, played in a cameo by Chris Pine. As the night goes on, their interaction leads to increasingly dangerous encounters. Jessica Alba, Brooklyn Decker, Ed Helms and Ray Liotta also appear in the film. Pine recently talked about his scene, one that (jokingly) could end his career. With commentary like that, it’d be a shame to never be able to see the performance played out on the big screen.
According to the report, Blum’s model of churning out high earners on low budgets may have actually backfired this time around. “A source says that Universal executives concluded it would be unwise to spend the $20 million to $40 million that it would take to release Stretch theatrically,” because these types of films don’t necessarily need a wide release to be financially successful. Hopefully Blum, Carnahan and Universal can figure out some way to bring Stretch to audiences, whether it’s through on-demand digital releases, on-demand theatrical screenings through services like Tugg.com, or even crowd-funded distribution through sites like Kickstarter. Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!