the man who killed don quixote

The troubles never cease for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. True to its title, the universe seems adamant on striking this project dead, even as the film has been completed and heads to the Cannes Film Festival to make its world premiere. Because now, the distribution of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote — and the health of its director — is at stake.

Amazon Studios will no longer handle the domestic release of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, according to Indiewire. Amazon didn’t respond to the outlet about the reasons why it dropped the domestic distribution of the film, but it is could have been tied to the legal troubles that have plagued Don Quixote recently.

Gilliam signed a deal with Amazon in 2015 for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote distribution, appropriately during the Cannes Film Festival. Gilliam was eager about his new distributor, which was then just beginning to branch out into the movie industry, telling The Playlist:

“Amazon and the like are interesting because they are all still in their formative stages. They’re not a bureaucracy that has been around for years like the studio system, and so they’re full of people that are open to new and fresh ideas. So it’s a good time to be working with people like that.”

But the film’s troubles were just beginning. Amazon Studios committed significant financing to the film, according to Indiewire. In early 2016, producer Paulo Branco pledged €16 million (almost $22 million) to help director Terry Gilliam finish his 20-plus year project in exchange for the rights to the film. However, Branco allegedly never provided the proper funds and Gilliam went to another producer to shoot Don Quixote. But in April, Branco re-entered the picture to claim that he still has the rights to the film, which put into jeopardy both the film’s U.S. distribution and its Cannes premiere.

Gilliam and Branco engaged in a heated legal battle in Paris District Court, which finally ruled its verdict today (via The Hollywood Reporter): The Man Who Killed Don Quixote can premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. So there’s one silver lining for Gilliam!

But even as Gilliam wins the fight to premiere the film, distribution is another story. It seems that even a disruptor like Amazon doesn’t want to deal with the cursed production of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. The project has run into a long list of troubles in the past 20 years, including Gilliam getting hospitalized for a minor stroke this weekend. Since Gilliam first set his sights on making the film in 1998, the project has lost actors, faced natural disasters, been shut down completely, temporarily revived, shut down, then revived again. And just as it’s crossing the finish line, it faces this new batch of troubles. Just who did Terry Gilliam anger in his past life?

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (finally!) makes its world premiere as the closing night film at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2018.

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