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While there’s no official announcement of US distribution for Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, the puzzle pieces really are starting to click into shape now. I’m of the mind that, most likely, the American release date for the film is going to be December 25th, and that the distributor will be Sony Pictures Classics. That’s far from an ideal situation, I’m sure many of you will agree, but there’s a lot we can do to help out and make the best of a bad hand. Just to stress: nothing official here, just the puzzle pieces I’ve been able to sweep up so far.

I first heard a tip off that Sony might be on board a couple of months back, and even placed a call for confirmation to Sony Pictures Classics myself. I received just the kind of “no comment” that makes one suspicious but, of course, often means nothing at all. I put the rumour to one side and decided to wait for something more solid to manifest.

Since Comic-Con we’ve been promised an imminent official announcement. Then last week, Terry Gilliam himself tweeted that the deal should be public soon. Still, it hasn’t been revealed and one has to wonder why.

Parnassus fans started hunting for evidence everywhere and anywhere. I personally checked out the Who Is data on several possible URLs and found that imaginariummovie.com and imaginarium-movie.com both belong to Sony Pictures. What’s more, if you use either of them, you’ll find yourself redirected to Sony’s webpage.

Could this be a red herring? Sony have announced that they will be distributing the film in Brazil after all and these URLs could be related to that. Well, I don’t believe that connection is correct. Indeed, there’s a perfectly good Brazilian Sony site that the redirect could be pointed towards, and a perfectly good .br suffix to take the place of the .com actually in use. If anything, the Brazil deal shows Sony’s interest in the project.

Taking the wind out of my sails a little is the indication in the Who Is data that Sony registered the domain in August 2008 and that their registration will expire in a few days time. This may simply be me misunderstanding the information given, however.

The second tip-off I received was that the film would see release on December 25th. My source here was really very solid but needs to remain anonymous. From what I understand, however, they did also reach out to other online Gilliam fans and bloggers who have since been carrying out research of their own. I started dropping hints about the date, though maybe I shouldn’t have. And then the date showed up in a New York Post PopWrap article and at The Huffington Post. Bad wiki-research? Or inside info?

Sony Pictures Classics have a terrible reputation in many quarters.

But let’s not let them do their worst. Let’s start asking our cinemas to book the films now. Find out who books for your local art house , or even your local multiplex, and tell them to book the film from release day. A grass roots effort on this particular front will make some noise because, frankly, it never happens.

And then, when the film comes out, go see it. High screen averages means expansion, means more people get the chance to see the film, means the distributors who ummed and aahed about the prospects of a Terry Gilliam film starring Heath Ledger and featuring Johnny Depp get sent a pretty clear message about their bungle.

I’m relieved that we are finally this close to a US release for the film after months of needless faffing about and ludicrous scaremongering. There was always going to be a release, of course there was, the question was simply “When and through who?” Maybe (and only still maybe) we didn’t get the ideal outcome on this front, but let’s make the most of it anyway.

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