One of the late entries into the awards race this season will be Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s The Revenant, which is slated for a limited release on Christmas day and will expand into more theaters on January 8th, 2016. There have already been rumblings in the past about how intense and demanding the film was, with stories about crew members quitting and comments regarding the shoot as being a “living hell.” And with The Wrap’s recent report that the bill has ballooned up to $135 million dollars, it seems those previous rumors have some added weight.
Still, everybody involved in the film, including production company New Regency, seem to have nothing but the utmost confidence in the project. A spokesperson for the company was succinct in assuring, “New Regency stands by the decisions we made. The work speaks for itself.” Regency, which has produced the last two Best Picture winners – last year’s Birdman and 2013’s 12 Years a Slave – had initially expected around a $60 million budget when it was only Inarritu and Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street) involved. That budget would later spike to $95 million, however, once the project started shooting.
Even at $95 million, The Revenant was considered a pricey film. As a period piece with bleak subject matter, along with a lacking female presence thus far in its marketing, the film was facing an uphill climb. Still, New Regency insists they’re okay with the budget hike as they appear to have unbridled confidence in the project. Refreshingly, the attitude seems to be that the company is willing to spend the money for what they believe is going to be a substantial film.
Perhaps reflecting the studio’s assurance in director Innaritu, one insider stated the company practically gave the filmmaker carte blanche in how to handle the film, and this resulted in the director taking full advantage of the freedom.
I don’t think the studio put in stopgaps to keep the costs down. There were a lot of indulgences he got that could’ve been a ‘no.’ Alejandro is a little bit like a child. He tests the parameters all the time. When you don’t say ‘no,’ he takes advantage.
Ultimately, the shoot oversaw difficulties with an uncooperative climate, which resulted in flights to Argentina in search of snow.
We had tremendous weather problems. It was freezing and snowing when it wasn’t meant to be. And when it wasn’t meant to be, it was. It wouldn’t snow. Our movie was really reliant on snow. That was a huge hit.
Despite all of this, of course, New Regency still plans to go on the offensive during award seasons, with reports stating company head Arnon Milchan has hired “every awards consultant known to man” to focus on an Oscar campaign for The Revenant.
The Revenant stars DiCaprio and Tom Hardy (Legend) in a true story about Hugh Glass, a 19th century fur trader abandoned and left for dead by his partner John Fitzgerald after a bear attack. After surviving the attack, Glass must battle the elements and much more to seek retribution for Fitzgerald’s betrayal.