So what’s happened to Michael Hoffman‘s The Last Station distribution-wise since it drew enthusiastic notices (particularly for Christopher Plummer‘s allegedly Best Actor-worthy performance as Leo Tolstoy) at the Telluride Film Festival nearly a month ago? I’ll tell you what’s happened — nothing. No deal, I mean, because the rights sellers are asking too much. Actually way too much, according to one source.
The other night I asked a hypothetical question of an acquisitions veteran who knew the score. If, in your estimation, the realistic market value of The Last Station is five dollars, what are sellers asking for? Fifteen, I was told. Included in the high price is an ironclad pledge to launch a Best Actor campaign for Plummer as well as Helen Mirren for Best Actress and somebody else (James McAvoy or Paul Giamatti for Best Supporting?).
An additional complication is that while The Last Station may sell tickets to the over-40 crowd, it’s a very linear and straightforward film, which is another way of saying it hasn’t been regarded by most critics who’ve seen it as being all that wise or hip. So there’s that as well.