According to Variety, Focus Features has taken over domestic distribution of Richard Curtis’ pirate radio yarn The Boat That Rocked. Universal was planning a release for August 28th, but Focus has pushed it back until sometime in November. Furthermore, Focus head honcho James Schamus wants 20 minutes trimmed from the film’s 129 minute runtime. He gave his thoughts to Variety:

“It will be a shorter, leaner version. We think it is a real crowd-pleaser. We love a challenge, and we love working with Working Title”

Now as you know, don’t just chop up a film that’s already had release nearly everywhere else without a reason. The reason, as per usual in the business of show, is money. So far International box office is a little off, with the film — which cost $50 million to make — bringing only $25 million thus far. That is much lower than expectations. There is certainly potential in this film, as it stars Bill Nighy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and the inimitable Rhys Darby, so if marketed right it could be a mainstream success.

On this side of the pond, and I hate to say this, the boat sank. I was planning on catching it myself back in April, but I lost my chance as it sped from theaters faster than I could have imagined. I would like to see the American cut, as a film like this would benefit from being tighter. I’ve heard from a few people that it plodded toward the end. I will definitely catch it when it hits DVD though, and I’m sure that there is a lot to love.

I mean, it’s Richard Curtis, the man who brought us Notting Hill, Love Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral. Next up for him is Lost For Words, to which Tom Cruise is rumored to be attached.

Are you excited about The Boat That Rocked?

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