In a surprising move, Aaron Sorkin‘s Trial Of The Chicago 7 has been shut down over budgetary concerns.
The film was heading for a February 2019 start date with Sorkin both writing and directing, and a cast of Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne and Jonathan Majors telling the story of anti-war activists who were accused by the federal government of conspiracy to riot because of the protests surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
The project had previously attracted names like Steven Spielberg and Paul Greengrass to it before Sorkin agreed to write and direct a few months ago. It seemed like the film was being fast-tracked by quickly landing its lead actors, but now it has all fallen apart.
However, the project reportedly isn’t completely dead as Amblin, the production company behind the film, reportedly remains committed to the project and will, with Sorkin, regroup and redevelop it. The issue though is that a film like this is hardly going to have a monster budget anyway, so how low can it really go?
This move reportedly comes in the wake of First Man being the latest high-profile drama set in the 1960s to flounder at the box office. Despite being a fantastic film, the numbers just weren’t there, even though most studios thought that it was a “slam-dunk”, it now has them worried that even a perfectly packaged project can still come up short at the box office.
This is concerning for Hollywood, as it’s a sign of the erosion of what some have termed the middle class of movies. The films that used to get made for medium sized budgets, and usually were your more “prestige” fare, have fallen away, and now Hollywood is increasingly filled with only massive blockbusters and very small independent films.
Hopefully The Trial Of The Chicago 7 can find a home somewhere else, as it sounded like an interesting and timely project from one of the great contemporary screenwriters. If it can’t, it’s a damning inditement of the current filmmaking climate in tinseltown.