Senior Editor
06.23.09 26 Comments

Sony head Amy Pascal reportedly pulled the plug on Steven Soderbergh’s adaptation of Michael Lewis’ Moneyball (starring Brad Pitt) three days before filming was set to start. That allowed the filmmakers to court other studios.  Long story short, everyone passed.

Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures, which were offered a chance to pick up the project from Sony, have also passed because of concerns about its high budget [$57 million] and limited commercial appeal. “Moneyball” is now back in Sony’s hands, where the director will either have to make changes or the project will die and the studio will absorb nearly $10 million it already spent on development and pre-production.

According to a person close to the situation, Pascal met with Soderbergh 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. She allowed “Moneyball’s” creative team to pitch the movie to Paramount and Warner Bros., where Pitt and Soderbergh have close ties. [LA Times via Playlist]

Meanwhile, some people are saying it was actually Pitt who didn’t like the script and Pascal just covered for him.

Either way, it doesn’t sound like killing it was a bad decision.  Here’s the book description from Wiki:

The book argues that the Oakland A’s’ front office took advantage of more empirical gauges of player performance to field a team that could compete successfully against richer competitors in Major League Baseball.  Rigorous statistical analysis had demonstrated that on-base percentage and slugging percentage are better indicators of offensive success, and the A’s became convinced that these qualities were cheaper to obtain on the open market than more historically valued qualities such as speed and contact. These observations often flew in the face of conventional baseball wisdom and the beliefs of many baseball scouts and executives.

Mmm mm.  Yes, there’s nothing better suited to a visual medium than intense statistical analysis.  They should’ve just done a mash-up with this and Angels & Demons, and capitalized on two birds with one turd.  “But Professor Langdon, you don’t really mean to say that on-base percentage is the first segno of offensive success!”  “I do indeed.  Mark my words, the Illuminati will win the pennant.”  Angels & Demons & Moneyball & Farts, they could’ve called it.

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