Even Big-Name Flicks Get Orphaned

Being a Hollywood A-lister may get you a coveted dinner reservation, but it doesn’t guarantee your movies get released promptly—or ever. Creative disagreements, the increasing costs of marketing and production, executive shuffles, perceived timeliness, or lack thereof—these can all doom even a major studio blockbuster to wriggle in the uncertain land of movie purgatory, where release is never certain. And it’s happening more often. "These delays do seem to be happening a lot lately," said a Walt Disney Pictures distribution executive. Even movies with the likes of Matt Damon, John Cusack, and Eddie Murphy can get marooned in limbo land. But movie purgatory doesn’t always spell doom for a flick. Slumdog Millionaire, languished at Warner Bros., until it was picked up by Fox Searchlight, where it went on to win eight Oscars and more than $350 million at the box office.