If you are a regular reader of this site, you are already aware of the fact that I was a very loud and proud advocate of Jonathan Levine’s film The Wackness, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. In my review, I called The Wackness one of the best films of Sundance 2008 and likened its heart to something like Juno. In fact, I would say that it is a coming of age story like Juno, just with a lot more sex, drugs and rap music. And apparently I was not alone, as the film took home the Audience Award at Sundance, marked by the fans as their favorite film.
Toward the end of the festival though, there was a bit of controversy over the fact that Sony Pictures Classics, a studio whose track record is not that great with this type of film, acquired the rights to distribute the film in North America. I was disappointed, to say the least.
Since then, we have learned that SPC was very passionate about picking up The Wackness, and we are all still holding out hope that this film could lead their charge back up there with power Indie studios like Fox Searchlight — and if what the film’s star Olivia Thirlby told our friends at Collider is true, they are moving in the right direction. In the interview, Thirlby revealed that The Wackness has been set for a July 3 release date. And while you might normally think that an indie flick could get lost on July 4 weekend, consider the fact that (as of right now) Will Smith’s superhero actioner Hancock is the only major release that week. As well, Wackness is set in the summer, so people will be in the mood to see some summer lovin’ (and Ben Kingsley as a crazy drugged up Psychiatrist.)
All-in-all, I see this as a good move for SPC, if it is true. The Wackness could be a sleeper hit in mid-summer, if they market it correctly. And while I still have my doubts, I’m at least holding out hope.