The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in trouble?
It seems that there's more about business versus creative in the rumour mill as the story appears that Paramount and David Fincher are clashing over The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and in particular its length.
Recently film critics saw some twenty minutes of the film and there was a common view coming out, it was too slow, and that seems to be the view of Paramount, the studio behind the film, who are none too pleased with the length.
This all seemed to be rumour, until a comment appeared online from Kevin Eastman, the publisher of Heavy Metal. David Fincher and he were working on bringing an adaptation of Heavy Metal to the big screen, and this was happening at Paramount, however, according to Eastman through The Playlist and /Film:
"We developed it for Paramount in January… And it was time for them to make a decision [about going forward with the project] and they were at odds with Fincher over another project, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,' [because] they wanted him to reduce the running time… and so they said, 'Until you step up to do what we want you to do with Benjamin, we're not going to greenlight any other of [your] movies.' And David said, 'Fine, [expletive removed - Richard] you, I'm going to set up [Heavy Metal] somewhere else,' so we jumped over to Sony and set it up there."
Okay, so that's a pretty big falling out, and to be frank it doesn't really matter. I'm sure these falling outs happen all the time, after all the studios are businesses and they are trying to control the creatives while the creatives are trying to push the studios to give them more. For the most part it's a combative relationship, or a very political friendship, but rarely is it a true and open partnership.
I'm sure falling outs like this happen all the time, but there's always another studio willing to take up a project, especially from someone so well known and with guaranteed box office.
However perhaps Sony might want to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button before they sign on the dotted line, because if film critics are saying it's slow after just twenty minutes, and the first cut that was seen and reported on was just under three hours long, it might not be the box office success that his name should command.