RocknRolla Too English For Warner Bros

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Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla, starring Gerard Butler and Thandie Newton, is due for release by Warner Bros in October in the States. However, producer Joel Silver is out and about shopping it to studios such as Lionsgate and Sony Pictures. Why is this?

The Los Angeles Times explains,

Silver was looking for a buyer for the film. People who’ve seen the film say it’s not bad at all. But as Warners goes through the arduous process of absorbing two dozen or so New Line films into its distribution system, the studio simply has too many movies to release, so it’s starting to pick out the weak calves from the herd.

If people say the film is not bad why is it considered one of the ‘weak calves’? Well the LA Times spoke with Warners chief Alan Horn, and he had this to say,

“I think it’s a well-made picture, but while it’s funny in spots, it’s very English,” he said. “I don’t think it’s broadly commercial. It feels like a film that deserves a spirited release, but not a wide one. Joel has an 800-screen deal, which we’ll honor, but we might not be willing to spend the marketing money he wants us to.”

So because the film is ‘very english’ Warner Bros don’t know how to go about marketing it and are therefore not willing to spend the money. Producer Joel Silver would rather get another studio to buy and release the film so that it can get a wider release, more than the 800 screens Warner Bros intend.

Being an English person I am a little disgruntled by the fact a movie is considered a ‘weak calf’ just because it is English. Are Gerard Butler and Thandie Newton not big enough actors in the States to promote a film? Or is this a case of the big movie studio thinking the American public won’t be interested in a film not set in America with American actors, when in fact they may be?

USA people give me your thoughts on RocknRolla! Below is the trailer to remind you how English it is:


  • Whysoserious

    This kinda seems like the studio assuming what the audience wants.

    The Bank Job was number one on opening weekend and it was pretty liberal with its slang and overall tone of English-ness.

    Snatch is pretty popular over here in the states as well so Warner Bros is making a bad move.

  • titian haired mona

    Hey Warner Bros we Americans love a good tasty sexy crime caper flick
    and the Brits do them the best.
    This American film fan can't wait for the release of this “too English” movie.

  • Lolo

    Never underestimate the power of a Gerard Butler fan

  • FYI

    It's pretty damn sad that a movie that has nothing but good reviews for it so far is getting a limited release when shiite like Saw IV and The Condemned get 2000+ screens. Warner Bros have a gem of a film, so why not market it properly? The Budget for the film isn't a huge amount, the earnings from this film should at least double and will probably have a good DVD sales too. Alan Horn, if your reading this… Give this movie a chance, there aren't that many films that are great ensemble flicks, especially in this genre. I look forward to seeing this, many times.

  • MissDebbieBlue

    Anything Gerard Butler is in – I'm going to see at the theater or buy as DVD.
    Don't underestimate the POWER of Gerry's fans.

  • Adult Wit

    Looks like it's going to be a very witty, adult humor, shoot-'em-up … WB would be wise to keep this one and dump another.

    Ritchie, Newton, Piven, Butler, Wilkenson …. it's GOT to be great!

  • Sam

    I am a born and bread American and, in fact, I am disappointed that it's opening in NY/LA/TOR on Oct. 8th and not wide until Oct. 31 (I live in TX). I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS MOVIE! I think that is absolutely ridiculous on the part of WB.

  • Lf

    This is a true shame. My husband and I were looking forward to seeing this Guy Ritchie film in the theaters. We are huge fans of his as well as Jeremy Piven, Gerard Butler and Thandie Newton. Please considere widening the release of this film for those of us who would love to see it on the big screen!!!

  • Gillian Fey

    I've really been waiting for this movie. Will I have to seek it in art houses?

  • Celticrystal

    This film looks so clever and funny! I've been looking forward to seeing it .. I hope I don't have to wait for the DVD! I hate that the big studios only seem to cater to the lowest level of American cinema-goers. There are plenty of intelligent, discriminating movie goers outside of NY and LA who want to see movies that fall outside the giant blockbuster genre. How about giving us a little credit, Warner Bros.?

  • Diane

    This is insanity worthy of a Guy Ritchie movie plot. Action films make money. Crime films make money. Too English? Absurd. Jason Stratham films make money in the U.S.. Asian actioners make money in the U.S. Plenty of “English” films have blown away the box office in America. Not to mention the American actors in the cast (Jeremy Piven and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) or that Tom Wilkinson has won Academy Awards and has played American characters. Thandie Newton is gorgeous and talented. Gerard Butler has a huge fan following and is a proven money-maker. There's something more to this story that we just don't know yet.

  • Sally Tomato

    As a fan of Alan Horn, his usually savy business decisions and his involvement in the “green” movement, I was sorely disappointed in his statement that RockNRolla was “very English.” Of course it is very English! It is a Guy Ritchie comedy with all of it's intelligent dialogue, quirky characters and British wit. What the devil did he expect?

    I am glad Silver is out shopping this and hope he gets some response and that the American public (which is made up of representatives from all the nations in the world) is not so bland to only appreciate homegrown products or blockbusters geared to a 16 year old mentality.

    Come on Mr. Horn, Ritchie and the wonderful cast he has assembled for this movie deserve better treatment and American audiences deserve a little more credit for world centric taste when it comes to films. We have been the richer for having watched such fare as Three Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually, Snatch, Lock Stock. and Three………., The Bank Job, The English Patient, etc. to name just a very few.
    Sure I have listed different genre, but they were all very British films and we loved them.

  • jane m

    I am a huge fan of British film and love the crime genre especially Ritchie's very clever funny capers. I will be very disappointed if RocknRolla is not released in my city . Warners is looking like a bunch of maroons if they don't promote this film in a big way.

  • Polotics

    All the bad movies Warner Bros puts out and they can not get behind, what looks like a cleaver film. There must be something else going on here. Warner says the film is too Britsh for Americans (yet right!). I think Guy or someone conneted with the film is not playing ball with Warner Bros. HOLLYWOOD POLOTICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Susan F.

    Warner is being very foolish. Don't they know what a cult hit “Snatch” is? This movie deserves wide distribution. I know I'm going to be very disappointed if it's not playing near me. My whole family is looking forward to seeing it.

  • Susan F.

    Warner is being very foolish. Don't they know what a cult hit “Snatch” is? This movie deserves wide distribution. I know I'm going to be very disappointed if it's not playing near me. My whole family is looking forward to seeing it.

  • nplove

    I live in a small-ish town and unfortunately, see the effects of this kind of thinking all the time, from the films (usually independents, art, and “too British”) that arrive…and vanish after one week, to the nonsensical flicks that hang around for months that draw in the kind of crowd that has nothing better to do but talk during the show and jump from theater to theater. If this is the thinking that WB has, then I'd have to drive 300+ miles to LA just to catch this intelligent, witty crime caper. Shame.

  • Marg

    I'm very dismayed to read this news. Give the US movie going public more credit for wanting to see smart, funny and clever films. What's out right now is trash and I'll save my money for movies that appeal to me instead of adolescent boys. Adolescent boys don't have the money us discerning movie goers do. I hope Warner's will reconsider or Joel Silver can find another distributor willing to put the money into this wonderful film. I'm really looking forward to it!

  • Alvin Jankowski

    This movie was far from weak. One of the best I have seen this year.

  • Alvin Jankowski

    This movie was far from weak. One of the best I have seen this year.

  • Dan

    I'm American, I loved it. So did all twenty of the people I've seen it with. So, Warner Bros. must be smokin' crack.

  • Dan

    I'm American, I loved it. So did all twenty of the people I've seen it with. So, Warner Bros. must be smokin' crack.