Universal Drops Joe Carnahan’s ‘Stretch’ Two Months Before Scheduled Release

By January 22, 2014

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Joe Carnahan (The Grey, Smokin’ Aces) is an economical director with a great sense of style. His films speak for themselves, but Carnahan also isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. If you’ve never heard him talk about filmmaking, take a look at this interview from early last year:

Last summer, Carnahan started production on his newest film, Stretch. I wrote a piece back then detailing everything we knew about it at the time, but I’ll run through the short version now in case you don’t have time to read up on it. Stretch stars Patrick Wilson as a down-and-out limo driver with a gambling problem. When he discovers he’s only one job away from paying off his bookie, he takes a gig escorting a mysterious reclusive billionaire (Chris Pine) with some devious – and possibly dangerous – tastes. As the night goes on, things get weirder and weirder, and the driver wonders if this depraved client might be his last. Ed Helms, Brooklyn Decker, James Badge Dale, and Shaun Toub co-star, and Ray Liotta and David Hasselhoff play themselves in the film. Sounds pretty good, right?

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Well, The Hollywood Reporter says that Universal has decided to drop the film two months before its originally scheduled release date of March 21st, 2014. The movie was produced by Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions, a unit known for its work on low-budget but high profit fare like Paranormal Activity and The Purge. Stretch was supposed to be in that vein, since the movie cost around $5 million to make, but Universal execs apparently decided it wouldn’t be wise to spend an additional $20 to $40 million to release the film theatrically. Because the movie was so cheap to make, it doesn’t need to make that much back in order to be profitable, and I guess putting all of that money into advertising and such just increases the odds that the studio won’t make their money back.

Blum’s deal with the studio allows him to look for other distributors if Universal doesn’t want the project, but no other studios were interested, so it reverted back to the original studio until its fate is decided. Universal is said to be exploring “creative” options for releasing it, which could mean On Demand, direct to video, or something else entirely.

Carnahan took to Twitter when the story broke and had a few things to say about it:





But then there’s this last entry, tweeted today around noon Pacific Time, that has me a little confused:


That proclamation seems to fly in the face of the information presented in the THR story, but hopefully Carnahan is privy to some info that the rest of us don’t have yet. I’m a fan of his films, but more than that, I’m a fan of the guy himself and his no-BS attitude, and I like to see people who work in the entertainment industry with that kind of mentality thrive instead of being beaten down. Let’s hope this situation plays out for the best, and if nothing else, hopefully we’ve given the film some attention so that when it does come out – on whatever platform the studio deems appropriate – you’re interested enough to check it out. Good luck, Mr. Carnahan.

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at ScreenRant.com, FirstShowing.net, MySpace.com, GeekTyrant.com, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.
  • Colt Howard

    Wow. Sucks for him! He is so hit or miss! Strangely enough, he does seem to do better with a smaller budget, i.e. NARC, Blood Guts Bullets and Octane, or The Grey.

  • davidcim212

    THE GREY is so good that he should be able to release whatever the heck he wants, with studio backing, as a follow-up to that masterpiece.

    • Brian R. Keathley

      It was a great fricken movie!

  • Whitney James

    Well, I guess thats Hollywood for you….make it or break it.

  • Kathleen Thompson

    Universal is going to be mad when Stretch becomes another success story for Joe Carnahan.