Category: moneyball

Moneyball.. passed on

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.

Sony scraps Soderbergh’s ‘Moneyball’

Columbia Pictures has dropped the ball on “Moneyball,” the Steven Soderbergh-directed Brad Pitt-starrer that was supposed to begin production Monday in Phoenix. On Friday, Columbia Pictures topper Amy Pascal placed the picture into “limited turnaround,” giving the filmmaker the chance to set it up at another studio, with Warner Bros. and Paramount the prime targets.

The move came after Pascal read the final draft delivered last week by Steve Zaillian and Steven Soderbergh and found it very different from the earlier scripts she championed. Pascal was uncomfortable enough with how Steven Soderbergh’s vision had changed that she applied the brakes.

Soderbergh and Pitt’s CAA reps spent the weekend attempting to get another studio to play ball in a game that will play out until Monday. If a new financier doesn’t emerge by tomorrow, Columbia will re-examine options that include replacing Soderbergh (and hoping that Pitt doesn’t ankle), delaying the film until she and the filmmaker find themselves in synch on the script, or pulling the plug. Read more. Thanks Intothegrinder and Gabriella.

Moneyball heads to Phoenix

Brad Pitt’s new baseball movie is hitting Phoenix in the next day or two for a couple of days of filming.

Pitt plays a baseball executive in the film “Moneyball,” an adaptation of a best-selling book.

So will Pitt be here for the filming? Probably, says the film’s publicist, Spooky Stevens.

“Yes, but it’s not written in stone,” she said.

Stevens wasn’t willing to say much about what’s happening here. She said the production doesn’t disclose locations and wants to slip in and out of town quietly to keep down crowds that might slow their work. She said most of the shooting will take place in Los Angeles but the first two days are in Phoenix.

“Moneyball” is an adaptation of the book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.” It chronicles Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s major league baseball team. The book portrays him as obsessed with unusual statistics that help find overlooked players who produce contending teams with a cheap payroll. Read more.