Martin Luther King film dropped
The film about Martin Luther King from writer and director Paul Greengrass entitled Memphis seems to have hit some troubles as Universal Pictures have turned around their plans to finance and distribute the film.
Memphis was set to cover the final days of Martin Luther King's life as it led up to his assassination, and Universal had planned to have it pushed through production in order for release around the time of Martin Luther King weekend in 2012.
There's no reason given as to why Universal have dropped the film, but there's plenty of speculation. What we do know is that the production is heading off to try and find alternative funding and Paul Greengrass and the other producers aren't giving up on Memphis.
Universal have though, and it remains unclear why, although officially they are saying that it was down to scheduling and timing, which if it were the case they'd surely just move it to another scheduled production slot, surely? Okay, I understand that they might miss the window for the weekend, but a film about such a prominent person in history as King surely would make any film about his life and important one, whether it's on the holiday weekend or not?
Deadline has a guess at the reasons behind it, and they suggest it might be because the Martin Luther King estate were far from happy with the Paul Greengrass script for Memphis and there's a suggestion that there was pressure from those around the estate and King himself towards Universal to stop the project. They even suggest that there were some threats of making their concerns public and trying to stop the film from being made.
Well if that was the case then it's worked and the film is no longer happening. The article also suggests that this is a similar reason behind the death of a previous King biographical film.
If this is what happened then the producers behind Memphis are really going to have to look hard for funding, for if the estate and those close to King were to come out against a film about his life it could really harm the distribution and the ticket sales. Mind you, it could also have a positive effect as even negative publicity can be good publicity. Yet I do wonder if financers would be a little nervous about touching a film about Martin Luther King where the estate was against it.
Of course this is just speculation and the official word from Universal is scheduling. We'll have to wait and see if Paul Greengrass can get some other companies behind the film and get it started.