Scorsese’s “Shutter” Delayed Until 2010

Paramount Pictures has pushed back director Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island” from October 2nd to February 19th according to Deadline Hollywood Daily.

Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River”), Shutter Island is the story of two U.S. marshals, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), who are summoned to a remote and barren island off the cost of Massachusetts to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a murderess from the island’s fortress-like hospital for the criminally insane.

The move comes as a big surprise as many expected the film could be up for Oscar contention considering its pedigree, it had the weekend to itself with no major challenger, and early test screening reaction yielded strong reviews.

So why do it? The site initially reported that distributor Paramount Pictures told the filmmakers that it didn’t have the financing to market such a picture at the $50-60M it would cost them, and later added that DiCaprio would not be available at the time to do international promotion.

Soon after Paramount Chief Brad Grey released a statement essentially blaming the bad economy for the delay and to boost an otherwise rather thin 2010 slate. That latter reasoning somewhat makes sense as for now the studio’s slate simply consists of Steven Soderbergh’s “The Informant”, Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones”, Dreamworks Animation’s “How To Train Your Dragon” and two long-delayed horror films – “Case 39” and “Carriers” – to sustain them between now and “Iron Man 2” next May.

The move also leaves the October 2nd 2009 release date free and clear with at least one or two projects expected to quickly fill in the gap. The weekends of September 18th, October 9th and October 16th are currently overcrowded with releases, so it’s likely that two or three of those titles will move in.