It used to be that shilling your film at a festival meant you were some scrappy up-and-comer who needed a break (or, at the very least, a hot shower). But as festivals have gotten bigger and more dazzling (any event that serves free Stella Artois is dazzling by its very nature), bigger name filmmakers have used them as launching pads for new projects. Jason Reitman is a prime example of this – he premiered both Juno and Up in the Air at the Telluride Film Festival and took them on to Toronto to pump up buzz so that cinephiles everywhere were primed when they finally hit theaters. Did it work? Heck yes it did. So it seemed a bit of a no-brainer that Reitman would bring his next collaboration with Juno scribe Diablo Cody to Telluride and then TIFF.
Apparently, not so.
Young Adult won’t make an appearance on the festival route this year, and though there’s nothing I love more than needless negative speculation and crying that a festival non-appearance or a release date change means that a film is a flaming brown bag of excrement, that may not be the case with Young Adult. As those eggheads over at The Playlist note, the film “is decidedly darker and much different than what we’ve seen from Reitman before.” The film stars Charlize Theron as a novelist who writes young adult fiction, who heads back to her small town to hook her high school sweetheart, played by Patrick Wilson. It’s really unfortunate that he’s married with children, and that Theron’s character doesn’t take issue with that. It is reportedly not the feel-good that Juno was, and that likely won’t sit as well with larger audiences.
But fans of Reitman, Cody, and unhinged females should likely dig it, which means I am currently holding the film a place on my top ten for the year. Neil already mentioned that the film would open in limited release on December 9, expanding on December 16. Paramount is following the same pattern with Young Adult that they used last year for The Fighter, opening in four theaters on the first weekend, expanding out wide the following weekend. That plan worked out, you know, okay for that film and the studio, so let’s save the pitchfork-waving cries that the film is a bust for awhile. If you needed more reassurance, Patton Oswalt is in it. Sold. [Deadline Telluride]