When MGM, which had originally planned for the movie’s release in November, sold the movie’s rights to Amazon, the streaming service decided Howard’s movie wasn’t worth making a campaign for. Amazon decided to use these films that were ready for release to test out unconventional release strategies when they finalized the acquisition of MGM.
They might want to imitate Apple’s CODA rollout, but that movie generated some buzz after winning a significant award at Sundance. With an audience score of 94% and 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, “Thirteen Lives” is a hit with both critics and viewers.
This would have made the ideal TIFF viewing material; one can envision it placing among the top 3 for the coveted Toronto audience award. In fact, since “Rush” in 2013, this film has received Howard’s best reviews. Rush (89%), Frost/Nixon (93%), Cinderella Man (80%), Apollo 13 (96%) and A Beautiful Mind (74%) is Howard’s most well-regarded motion pictures.
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Amazon Completely Discontinues Ron Howard Thirteen Lives
Remember when MGM spread rumors to the media that Ron Howard’s “Thirteen Lives” received such overwhelmingly favorable test screening reviews that the production company chose to release the movie over Thanksgiving weekend, right in the middle of this year’s awards season? The best test scores in MGM history were given to Howard’s movie, which scored a 97 in the top two boxes and an 86 for “definitely recommend.” It was rescheduled from its initial April 15 release date to the highly anticipated November 18 date.
Then, in March, Amazon paid $8.5 billion to acquire MGM, and in early August, it released Howard’s movie in limited theatres before going global on Amazon Prime shortly after. It was a mind-boggling choice. It seemed like the kind of film that would win over festival audiences, particularly at TIFF.
Were the test results greatly exaggerated? It certainly appears so, as Amazon has essentially dropped “Thirteen Lives.” It has a more-than-decent 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 66 on Metacritic.
Ron Howard’s Thai cave rescue film ‘THIRTEEN LIVES’, starring Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton and Viggo Mortensen, will release on early August in theaters and then release on Amazon Prime Video a few weeks later.
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) May 17, 2022
With Colin Farrell, Viggo Mortensen, and Joel Edgerton among its stellar cast, “Thirteen Lives” is based on the true account of a rescue operation in Thailand for a group of teenage boys and their soccer coach who were stranded in a flooding subterranean cave.
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