You Can Finally See Joe Carnahan’s R-Rated Party ‘Stretch’ Next Month
With Joe Carnahan’s latest film, Stretch, Blumhouse is hoping to do for action what the production company has done for horror: make a project with low risk, high reward. Their movies cost peanuts compared to most major releases. If they make a hit, it’s a major success. If they put out a bomb, nobody is going to the poorhouse. It’s a great business model that’s mostly been used for horror movies. They’ve stepped outside of their wheelhouse every now and then, to mixed results. For example, Catherine Hardwicke’s Plush was a melodramatic rock ’n’ roll sex thriller that, despite being Hardwicke’s most fun movie in a years, went unnoticed.
Hopefully that won’t be the case for Stretch. The film was originally going to be released by Universal back in March, but they dropped the picture two months before its scheduled debut. The studio was unwilling dish out the money necessary to advertise it.
Carnahan, to a degree, empathizes with their decision. “To hear $25–40m [to market it], okay, I guess that makes sense,” he told Slashfilm. “I don’t know why we’re still marketing films that way. Do you know what I mean? It seems like that’s the only way. But like for everything you need, you can’t just be ‘it’s only this way.’ But again, I get it. It’s Universal. It’s a studio. They have a way of doing things. I respect that.”
But here’s the question: didn’t they read the script?
Didn’t they know what kind of movie Stretch was going to be? The studio worked with Carnahan on Smokin’ Aces, which made them plenty of cash thanks to huge home video sales. That action movie wasn’t exactly mainstream, either, but it was still a success.
Then again, maybe it’s for the better Stretch wasn’t released by Universal. It means Carnahan got more time to polish the film, which he admitted needed work, and, without spending all that money on marketing, Stretch isn’t a major risk anymore. Most importantly, it’d be preferable to see Carnahan’s cut of Stretch, not some sanitized version made to “justify” the cost of TV ads.
For those of you who don’t know, the film follows a chauffeur (Patrick Wilson) who’s in serious debt. To payback the money he owes, he takes on the job of driving around an eccentric billionaire (Chris Pine). The billionaire, who looks an awful lot like the second guitarist in a ZZ Top cover band, wants to sell off a valuable book filled with criminal contacts. This leads to some dangerous and weird situations for the chauffeur.
Based on that plot description and our first-look at Carnahan’s action movie, this definitely isn’t going to be for everyone, but thankfully, according to the director’s twitter feed, everyone will have a chance to see it next month. To raise awareness the film now has an official twitter account. Over the past few days images and videos from Stretch have been posted there, all of which teasing the potential strangeness in store.
It looks like one big R-rated party, especially since we’ll see Carnahan reuniting with some old pals. Patrick Wilson (The A-Team), Ray Liotta (Narc), and Chris Pine (Smokin’ Aces) have all worked with the director in the past. Stretch also stars Brooklyn Decker, Jessica Alba, James Badge Dale and David Hassellhoff. Let that last name sink in.
That’s quite an eclectic cast, with Decker and Pine being the most interesting of the bunch. The Star Trek star seems like the kind of actor that, as shown by his occasional out-of-the-box performances, isn’t only suited to playing tentpole heroes. His performance in Smokin’ Aces shows he can wear the suit of a character actor. As for Decker, most probably don’t take her seriously as an actress after Battleship, but she’s genuinely hilarious in The League. She has more talent as an actor than people suspect, and hopefully she’ll get to show some of her comedic chops in Stretch.
Now the question is: when and how will you get to see this lovely cast’s work? A release date hasn’t been set yet, but Stretch will be released under Blumhouse’s new business venture, BH Tilt. Right now Blumhouse has a ten-year deal with Universal, but if the studio doesn’t want to give one of their movies a theatrical release, they’ll be released through BH Tilt instead. That’s exactly what’s happening with Stretch, which will be open digitally next month.
This is both good and bad news. It’s great because we won’t have to wait much longer to see the film, but it’s a pity we may not see it on the big screen. This seems like the kind of movie you’d want to experience in a packed theater with people losing their minds around you. Maybe Stretch will get some kind of limited run, but unless you’re at Fantastic Fest, which is likely where it’ll premiere, you’ll probably have to watch it in your living room.
On the bright side, after some negative buzz created by Universal dropping the film, Stretch will finally have the chance to speak for itself.
Stretch will be available on digital platforms this October.