It’s hard to believe that after a mountain of buzz created after “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” sneaked a trailer and footage at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con it still hasn’t hit theaters. A remake of the cult 1973 TV movie, the film was a passion project for Guillermo Del Toro who co-wrote and produced but decided not to direct while he was off in New Zealand working on “The Hobbit.” Instead, newcomer Troy Nixey was brought on board as well as an intriguing cast including Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes and Bailee Madison (“Brothers,” “Just Go With It”). Del Toro has since moved on from “The Hobbit,” but “Don’t Be Afraid” got stuck in limbo after the Walt Disney Company sold Miramax to a group of private investors.
“Don’t Be Afraid” was originally expected to release last month. Disney was planning on marketing and distributing the picture for Miramax’s new owners. The also expected to shepherd another Miramax title, “The Debt.” Instead, the paramaters of the deal changed and both films went off the release schedule. The new owners of Miramax have no current plan to market and distribute their films and have looked to partner for the two remaining titles. Last week, Focus Features came on board “The Debt.” Today, FilmDistrict announced it would bring “Don’t Be Afraid” to U.S. theaters on August 12.
FilmDistrict is a new distribution outfit formed by Peter Schlessel and Bob Berney. Berney is the indie marketing maven who has worked wonders (for the most part) at NewMarket, Picturehouse and, most recently, Appartion. In fact, when Berney got into a dispute with the direction of Appartion, his departure led to a quick dissolution of the company. Berney also has a strong relationship with Del Toro after he helped the Spanish-language “Pan’s Labyrinth” gross $37 million domestically, land six Oscar nominations and three wins.
In a statement released by FilmDistrict and Miramax, Del Toro said, “Miramax has done an inspired job finding the right home for our film that took 15 years to get made. Partnering with Bob Berney is always an exciting privilege and I”m confident that the FilmDistrict team will bring the intelligence, patience, and inspiration to set ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ forth into the world in a powerful way.”
Berney noted, “‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ is the kind of incredibly unique and very frightening movie that we know American audiences crave. The filmmakers and cast have done a brilliant job in re-imagining the original version and I am personally very pleased to be working with Guillermo again.”
FilmDistrict’s first release will be the horror flick “Insiduous” on April 1.
It’s unknown whether Del Toro and the “Dark” team will return to Comic-Con once more before the film’s August 12 release. At this juncture it will be opening against “30 Minutes or Less,” a new comedy from the director of “Zombieland” with Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride, as well as the DreamWorks Studios period drama “The Help” with Emma Stone.
For more on “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” watch the trailer embedded above this post or check out an interview with Del Toro from Comic-Con below.