Warner Bros. Thinks it Can Beat the Dark Side?!

The dark side is strong and so is George Lucas, which is why studios don’t dare take a chance releasing a movie on the same day as Star Wars Episode III– and then there’s Warner Bros. I can’t believe I’m reporting this, but according to Bloody News (confirmed by Variety) Paul Schrader’s Exorcist: The Beginning, which is now titled Dominion: A Prequel to the Exorcist has been given a release date, May 20th, the same day as Revenge of the Sith. Read on for the scoopers…
Bloody News reports:

“The good news: Warner Brothers has finally decided to get off their duffs and release the long-awaited Paul Schrader’s Exorcist: The Original Prequel. According to my source inside Warner Brothers, the film will receive a limited release here in the States on Friday, May 20th.

The bad news? Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith. Schrader’s film is opening against the most anticipated blockbuster of the year, which means that Exorcist: The Original Prequel needs a fair amount of promotion in order to be visible alongside all the Wookies.

Granted, a limited release is exactly what the name describes. Warner Brothers (and Schrader himself, most likely) aren’t looking to rake in bazillions of dollars, but are instead choosing to target the dedicated cult following that has been rabidly obsessing over this film for the past three years. Still, I’d hoped that the Brothers W. would have chosen a better time to get this one out there.

Nevertheless, the important thing is that you’re finally going to see it, and that’s really all that matters.

There’s still no word on the film’s official title or a trailer, though you can expect to hear something within the next few weeks as the release date draws near. In the meantime, check out BN’s exclusive interview with Schrader for any of the gossip you may have missed about this unfairly-maligned film.”

Variety reports:

Nearly three years after Paul Schrader began production on his prequel to “The Exorcist,” Morgan Creek Prods. has decided to give the pic a theatrical life. It will bow May 20, the same day as “Star Wars” — albeit in considerably more limited release.

Warner Bros. Pictures will handle the pic’s distribution, under its former arrangement with the shingle. Schrader’s movie began production in November 2002 and Morgan Creek left the Warners lot for Universal Pictures in late 2003.

Morgan Creek’s Jim Robinson pulled the plug on Schrader’s nearly finished film in September 2003 over creative differences — Robinson wanted pea soup and Schrader didn’t.

The producer shelled out another $35 million to have Renny Harlin take another stab at it, with Stellan Skarsgard once again starring as troubled Father Merrin. Harlin’s film was released last August and earned about $80 million worldwide.

That might have been the end of the story had Schrader not decided to take his finished film to the Brussels Fantasy Film Festival last month for its world premiere.

Morgan Creek Intl. handled the pic’s foreign distribution, and Schrader’s film has already been released in the Netherlands.

Now all that remains is the matter of a title. Harlin’s pic took the original title of “Exorcist: The Beginning.” In Brussels, Schrader’s movie screened as “Paul Schrader’s The Exorcist: The Original Prequel.” Now Morgan Creek is leaning toward “Dominion: A Prequel to the Exorcist.”

Source: Bloody News, Variety