***** SPOILER ALERT: Information regarding the ending of the upcoming Baz Luhrmann epic “Australia” is contained below, proceed at your own risk. *****
“Romeo & Juliet”, Nicole dying at the end of “Moulin Rouge” – Baz Luhrmann certainly likes his romance films to have tragic endings. Unfortunately audiences don’t seem to agree with him.
According to The Daily Telegraph, early cuts of the film were tested in the US earlier this year and included scenes where Hugh Jackman’s character, The Drover, dies. Test screening audiences, who responded the most to Jackman’s character, felt that ending was “too gloomy”.
So, with a $130 million budget and looming deadline fast approaching – 20th Century Fox asked Luhrmann to alter the scenes to make the ending more positive. Despite initial difficulties convincing Luhrmann to do so, he ultimately conceeded and claims “the quality of the film had not been compromised”.
The change however was apparently one of the big reasons the film was pushed back two weeks.
Pressure is now overwhelmingly on Luhrmann to have the film ready in time for the local Australian press screenings and the multi-city premieres on the night of November 18th.
With no time for early word-of-mouth screenings, an intense publicity tour for the film kicks off in Oz early next week before quickly moving to Los Angeles later that week (LA press screenings on the 20th, an NYC premiere on the 24th), and then Europe throughout much of the rest of the year (it premieres in London on December 10th).
The potential downside of this highly secretive, last-minute approach is that if the film fails to meet expectations the reaction will hit fast and it will hit hard around mid-week next week.