International buyers ofMartin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York are all supporting the shift of the film to a Christmas US release dateand many are expected to go day-and-date with the US, according to InitialEntertainment Group (IEG) president Graham King who majority financed the filmto the tune of $67m.
"Itnever really warranted a summer release," said King yesterday, "andthey just want what's best for it. None is financially dependent ongetting it as soon as possible, so everyone's fine with it."
Kingintroduced Gangs to buyers as far back as the London Screenings 1999 and subsequently scored some lucrativedeals with Nippon Herald and Shochiku in Japan, Entertainment in the UK andM6/CLT-Ufa in France, among others, to make up his outlay. He said that in thelast week he has been on the phone with all the buyers on a daily basis keepingthem up to date with developments. It is unusual for independents to wait solong - in this case nearly three-and-a-half years - for delivery of such an expensive picture.
Meanwhile,although King remained mum on the subject, it is likely that some 25 minutes offootage from the film will be screened in official selection at the Cannes FilmFestival next month. Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio are expected to attendthe event.
Thenews that Gangs was to be movedfrom its scheduled July 12 slot to Christmas week emerged in Hollywoodyesterday in response to a searing story on Sunday in The New York Timesalleging that Scorsese was at loggerheads with Miramax Films co-chairman HarveyWeinstein over the length of the film. Miramax has domestic rights to Gangs, and had originally committed $25m for theprivilege when the project was put up for grabs in the independent arena by Joe Roth, then chairman of Miramax's sister company Walt Disney Studios.
AMiramax spokesman yesterday said that the final budget was $96m - some$7m less than The New York Times alleged - and that Miramax had committed$29m of that. He said that he thought it unlikely that Scorsese and DiCapriohad stumped up an additional $7m of their own money, also suggested in thearticle. King said that they may have contributed to the overages but doubtedthat it was to that level of investment.
Meanwhile, Weinstein andScorsese were both happy with a version screened in New York on Friday whichran to just 160 minutes, said Miramax.