A week from tomorrow, Sony Pictures was all set to release "Anonymous," a costume drama about the "controversy" involving the "true" author of William Shakespeare's plays it was selling with the kinda awesome tagline of "WHAT IF SHAKESPEARE WERE A FRAUD?" (Well, uh, we guess we'd just go ahead and still have lunch today like we'd been planning?) The film has always been a bit of a curio, in that it was a big-budget, lavish, loud film directed by disaster wunderkind Roland Emmerich ("2012," "Independence Day") that, to judge from the trailer, appeared to treat a matter of stage authorship as if it were a giant lizard rampaging through Manhattan. Not that we weren't excited about it: What if Shakespeare were a fraud? Tell us, Roland Emmerich, director of "Independence Day!"
Sony Pictures appears to have noticed that just because Roland Emmerich directed a film doesn't mean you should pretend it's "The Day After Tomorrow." The studio has decided, at an extremely late date, to dial the number of theaters showing "Anonymous" way way back, from more than 2,500 to about 250. The studio says they don't want a bad opening weekend -- the movie isn't tracking well, probably because it's a costume drama directed by the "Godzilla" guy -- to bury a "magnificent film," and what a cool thing for a studio exec to say, that his/her film is "magnificent." Thus, a smaller rollout.
The film is reported to feature a strong performance by Rhys Ifans and did receive some generally positive early reviews. It is still a costume drama directed by the "Universal Soldier" guy. And it's also a completely false story. So, sorry, denizens of Topeka and West Memphis: You'll have to wait an extra couple of weeks to see this movie you're already standing in line for.