Quantum Release Date Quagmire

James Bond fans outside of Europe may find themselves downloading shaky pirated versions rather than visiting the cinema for the next adventure of the British superspy due to release date disparity over the upcoming 007 feature “Quantum of Solace”.

The producers of the Bond franchise have set a 48-hour window from November 5th-7th this year to open the film across almost every major international territory. Yet there are notable exceptions, specifically in several of the franchises biggest Western markets which put potential revenue from the series at risk.

News has come down today that ‘Solace’ has been delayed a week in the United States, as a result the film is now scheduled to open November 14th States-side. Australia and New Zealand have been even further shafted with releases scheduled for November 27th. This means the film will open in the US two weeks after its initial release in the UK and France on October 31st, while Down Under gets it four weeks later.

This seems a very strange move considering that these three major territories, along with South Africa and three South American countries, are the ONLY countries scheduled to get the film after its first November weekend global release when it opens across all of Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and much of South and Central America.

Even with months of preparation and effort spent to combat piracy, a decent quality camcorded copy of “The Dark Knight” still ended up online less than two days after it was first released on the global market. With a film this size, a pirated version will more than likely end up online by the end of the first week of November, effectively cutting into potential audiences in the US and Aussie markets – two countries where viewing of pirated movies are amongst the highest in the world.

In the US, the reason for the delay was the move of “Harry Potter” out of the Thanksgiving slot, giving the film a better chance at the Thanksgiving box-office where Bond is normally situated. It’s also put the film in a familiar battle – against an acclaimed Aussie filmmaker. “Casino Royale” opened in 2006 but was beaten to the top spot by George Miller’s CG-animated “Happy Feet” featuring the voices of Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. Now “Solace” is set to compete with several films, most notably Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia” featuring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.

Luhrmann’s “Australia” opens in its home territory on November 13th – which may be why Bond has been pushed back two weeks in Oz to clear the path. In the US though, Luhrmann’s film is receiving far less buzz and, unlike ‘Feet’, is expected to be beaten soundly by the Bond film. So not surprisingly, there’s already murmurs that “Australia” may get a new release date. More as it develops.