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Weinstein Co.'s 'Hurricane Season' blows straight to DVD

A movie about a high school basketball team that rose above the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina -- a film that starred an Oscar winner -- got caught up in Hurricane Weinstein and was quietly dumped into video stores by the production company last month.

WHITAKER "Hurricane Season," starring Forest Whitaker, was based on the true story of a Marrero, La., high school basketball team's amazing run to a state championship with a group of players who were all displaced by Katrina. Besides Whitaker, the movie features Taraji Henson and rapper Lil Wayne.

Filmed in 2007 and 2008, "Hurricane Season" was supposed to be released last year but was kept on the shelf. Company Town specifically asked Weinstein Co. about the fate of "Hurricane Season" last week when we wrote about "Piranha 3-D" getting delayed. We were told there was no hard date for it (or several other movies sitting on the shelf there), and became aware of its straight-to-DVD fate only when a reader sent us a note. (Sorry, we don't get to Blockbuster as much as we used to.)

"Hurricane Season" director Tim Story ("Barbershop," "Fantastic Four") told Company Town that he was disappointed the movie never made it to the big screen. “I have to applaud them for making the movie, but I don’t believe the job was finished,” he said.

The company said its well-publicized financial issues had nothing to do with the decision regarding "Hurricane Season." In a statement, Weinstein Co. senior executive David Glasser said, "It's a very tough marketplace and unfortunately the film did not test well. It was in the best interest of the financial returns on the picture to go straight to video."

Other Weinstein Co. movies in limbo include John Cusack's "Shanghai" and Ryan Gosling's "All Good Things." The company also has recently said it was delaying the releases of "Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil" as well as the above-mentioned "Piranha 3-D." If any of these are already in video stores, please let us know.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Forest Whitaker. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
Comments () | Archives (10)

Yes, except it's been well documented that the film tested at a 92. The studio is broke. They bet on all the wrong horses. Nine. Youth In Revolt. The Road. All of these movies were busts. The fact that they dumped Hurricane Season three weeks after The Blind Side made over 200 million only illustrates how clueless this studio is. Wait, what studio? It's just Harvey and Bob. They're not a studio, they're an embarrassment -- to not only filmmaking but to the film business and that's hard to do.

As good as they are now, they aren't half as good as when they were with Disney. If they sell will all they be selling is debt?

They sure as hell didn't bet on it on The Road. Did that even play outside of New York and LA?

Apparently Shanghai, All Good Things, and Hoodwinked 2 are supposed to be getting theatrical releases.

As to when these films are getting release, that is the true mystery. It could be quite a while because of the company's financial issues.

I guess the company just didn't have higher hopes for Hurricane Season, which really is a shame.

Regardless of it not making it to the big screen I plan on renting it. As a California tourist stuck in the Superdome during Katrina, I know it will be an emotional film for me.

Seems to me with the New Orleans Saints riding a similar wave in their quest to the Super Bowl as this basketball team's run to the State Championship, the Weinstein Co. could have capitalized on this and released their film this football season.

Paul Harris
Author, "Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina"

The same thing ALMOST happened to FANBOYS. The film had Seth Rogan in a big comedy about Star Wars nerds and they wanted to dump it to DVD. Only after a lengthy campaign by the filmmakers did the film get a SMALL theatrical release...what a waste. "Hurricane Season" sounds good...

Well. Nikki Finke also said that "Hurricane Season" tested at a 92 .


Therefore, what David Glasser said was clearly not true.

Both Shanghai and All Good Things are available at Netflix.

I take that back -- they're in the "not yet available" section.

Hoodwinked 2 is listed on IMDb to be released on September 3, 2010. The company will most likely release Hoodwinked 2 theatrically because of the box office success the first film had. Quite a delay though. January 15, 2010 to September 3, 2010.

All Good Things and Shanghai, I have no idea. Both of these films were rumored to have a March and April 2010 release, but who knows really. Good news is that I've heard from a few websites that both of these films should be getting theatrical releases. Hopefully soon enough.


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