You’d think if you’re Brad Pitt and Steven Soderbergh, you’d have earned a bit creative freedom by now. Which is why it’s surprising that Sony has pulled the plug on their adaptation of Moneyball just a few days before it was supposed to begin filming.
On Friday, Columbia Pictures [owned by Sony] topper Amy Pascal placed the picture into “limited turnaround,” giving the filmmaker the chance to set it up at another studio. The move came after Pascal read a rewrite that Soderbergh did to Steven Zaillian’s script and found it very different from the earlier scripts she championed. Pascal was uncomfortable enough with how the vision had changed that she applied the brakes. [Variety]
It seems like a strange decision given that Brad Pitt movies almost always do well. David Poland has a nice breakdown of the math involved, including:
Sony eats $15 million to $20 million on the movie if they shut it down. It will never come back to life, most likely, but if it does, not a dollar they spent aside from the book buy will go towards the film itself.
(Variety again) Even in the climate of heightened studio caution, the turnaround news on “Moneyball” is surprising given that the project had reached the equivalent of third base [fingering Amy Pascal's vagina]. It was just 96 hours before the participants were ready to take the field, following three months of prep and with camera tests completed and cast and budget in place.
Sony is still nervous about Taking of Pelham 123 and Year One earning out, so if you ask me, this is probably just a case of closing the gate after the horse is gone or some other folksy expression.