When Creation played Toronto to largely dismissive reviews, the film’s producer attempted to drum up interest by manufacturing controversy. He claimed that the film wasn’t finding distribution in the US because of active Christian resistance to a film about Charles Darwin. So there’s no small irony to the fact that it has now been picked up for US distribution by Newmarket Films, the distributor of The Passion of the Christ.
A press release announces that Newmarket will release Creation, which stars Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly as Darwin and his wife, in December of this year. If you’re thinking to yourself, wait, does Newmarket even exist anymore…I don’t have an answer. I think we all were under the impression that the company was kaput as a distributor. Though Newmarket has developed a couple of films since, the last project they distributed (as far as I know) was The Nines, in 2007.
Anne Thompson called the film “flat, dull and painful to sit through,” and I heard many similar reviews out of Toronto. But producer Jeremy Thomas didn’t figure that was the reason there was disinterest from US distributors. (At a festival that has been notable for a lack of film sales, no less.) He was quoted in the Telegraph saying:
The film has no distributor in America. It has got a deal everywhere else in the world but in the US, and it’s because of what the film is about. People have been saying this is the best film they’ve seen all year, yet nobody in the US has picked it up…It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America.
The day after that article appeared it got traction on Digg and other aggregating sites. Everyone loves a controversy based in religious dogma. What wasn’t mentioned in the Telegraph article, however, was the fact that a film far more potentially controversial to Christians — that one called Antichrist — sold almost immediately, even after mixed reviews.