When we here at Cinematical harp on about a particular movie, it's usually because it deserves the attention, whether or not it's a genuinely Great Movie. Every so often, several of us on the staff will share the same wavelength for a film and insists on flogging it through its release, and we do so because we care so, so very much. Now, I personally won't go on about The Brothers Bloom at as great a length as we have with, say, The Promotion or Dear Zachary...; earlier today, when a colleague asked me (in wording that doesn't quite merit repeating here) if I had an overwhelming affection for the film, I couldn't say it was any stronger than I felt for either of those films.
I should know why I'm supporting any film, though, and I do know that I would like to see Bloom fare well in the marketplace whenever it does open -- which is why I hope that Summit changes its release date just one last time.
See, The Brothers Bloom -- writer-director Rian Johnson's follow-up to Brick -- was originally supposed to open last October 24th, opposite HSM3 and Saw V. Then, out of what I understand was fear of a crowded weekend/month combined with a mild push for awards glory, the date was switched to a limited release in mid-December and a wide release in mid-January (this Friday, to be exact). However, the week before it was supposed to play NY and LA, the release was formally pushed back to May: the 15th in limited release, the 29th in wide release.
May 15th features the opening of Angels & Demons, starring Tom Hanks and likely to draw older adults in droves, and Bruno, which all the young adults will be scrambling to. May 29th has Drag Me to Hell, Sam Raimi's return to horror, and Up, Pixar's latest quadrant-smasher. Suffice it to say, having seen Bloom and only Bloom out of those five titles, I do not see its appeal extending to nearly as much of an audience as any of those films (okay, maybe the Raimi flick).
And yet look at April, that shower-filled month relatively ripe for counter-programming. The 3rd offers Fast & Furious, and nothing for proper grown-ups. The following week has Hannah Montana: The Movie (kids), Dragonball Evolution (teens), and Observe and Report (young adults). Why not open it wide on either of those weeks? If you must stick with the limited-wide strategy -- and frankly, whatever chance the film stands at Screenplay or Supporting Actress will likely go unswayed by a NY/LA release half a year ahead of awards season -- get your trade and Times reviews on the week only one other movie is opening (the 3rd), and let it hold its own against nothing that screams competition on the 10th. As for the weeks after, yes, State of Play and The Soloist will lure in those who take their entertainment humorless, but again, Bloom becomes a welcome alternative and one a bit more prone to positive word-of-mouth against the likes of those two instead of Demons and demons.
With regards to the publicity push ahead of time, might I suggest making sure that a trailer (if not a new trailer) finds its way to prints of Duplicity -- which looks to be a similarly sly crime caper for discerning adults -- AND Summit's own Knowing when both come out on March 20th? Chances are, those will be the two biggest films of that weekend, not to mention likely to hold their own against the aftermath of Watchmen. If you can't sell someone on Julia Roberts, then Nic Cage will probably do the trick, and with one or the other, the opportunity to build up awareness is much more likely with those titles over any others coming out in the spring season.
One of the refreshing things about Bloom is that its clever con games aren't designed to screw anyone, and neither is the film. So instead of pushing the film on explosion after explosion, sell it on the inherent charm of the story, of getting swept away and not of getting tricked or trying to stay one step ahead. Make it romantic, and not necessarily rom-com Brody-and-Weisz romantic -- meaning more of a recommendation to take your cues from this alternative site for the film. Throw together some character posters built around this card motif: one for Bang Bang, one for Penelope, and one for the Brothers (who, nothing against the stars, might not prove a powerful a draw separately as the ladies would); and tweak the trailer so that it strikes a note less broad and perhaps more graceful and suave and... yes, romantic.
I know, I know, I've given this too much thought and too much text, and maybe there really are other factors at work that I've failed to consider or understand, but even if you don't follow these suggestions to a T, Summit Folks Who Are Theoretically Reading This And Done Counting Your Twilight Bank, at least give the film the benefit of a different date (though not necessarily a later one). Even if you can't or won't push it to some sort of success, at least put the Brothers in a place where they really would have a chance to bloom.