June 23, 2009
by admin / moneyball News Projects

At a time when expensive adult dramas keep striking out at the box office, it appears not even Brad Pitt and director Steven Soderbergh can entice a Hollywood studio to spend about $57 million on a baseball movie.

Pitt and Soderbergh, who were given a short window to set up their adaptation of the 2003 bestselling book “Moneyball” at a rival studio after Sony Pictures unexpectedly killed the project just three days before production was to begin today, have been turned down by Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures, which shared concerns about the film’s high budget and limited commercial appeal.

Sony movie chief Amy Pascal had given them the weekend to try and set the movie up at the two studios where they have the closest ties. Pitt’s production company is based at Paramount, and the actor and Soderbergh have made the “Ocean’s 11” movies at Warner.

On Friday, as first reported by industry trade paper Daily Variety, Sony’s Pascal pulled the plug on the production after Soderbergh turned in a rewrite of the script by Steve Zaillian that she found unacceptable, according to people close to the situation. A person informed about the matter said that Pascal had liked Zaillian’s adaptation of Michael Lewis’ book about Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, but when Soderbergh’s rewrite came in last Wednesday, she was surprised that there were “substantial changes.”

Pascal met with Soderbergh in her Culver City office to see if he was willing to revise his take, but the two couldn’t agree on a vision for the film. They also disagreed over Soderbergh’s plan to shoot the film in a more improvisational documentary style, the person said.

She then made a last-minute decision to scrap the production, shocking those who were about to start shooting, said one individual involved in the project.

By Monday, Paramount and Warner Bros. had already decided to pass. Read more. Thanks Gabriella.

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