Being bumped to a new slot in 2009 apparently brings a massive effect to "The Soloist" as the DreamWorks movie has been pulled out from its participation as the opening night film of AFI FEST 2008. The fact was revealed on Wednesday, October 22, in an announcement made by the American Film Institute through the film's producers.
In a joint statement from Paramount, DreamWorks and Participant Media, the producers explained about the reason for the withdrawal. "Due to the change in 'The Soloist' release date, we unfortunately had to withdraw from the AFI FEST Film Festival," the statement read. "It was an honor to be invited as the Opening Night film and we are very grateful to the festival for their support and understanding."
Originally, the musical drama that teams up Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. has been slated to make its world premiere at the film festival when it kicks off the event on October 30 at Hollywood's Cinerama Dome. Following the announcement of "Soloist" withdrawal, AFI is expected to come out with a new opening night film on Thursday, October 23.
Back on October 16, it was reported that "Soloist" has been pushed back from its initial schedule on November 21, 2008 to March 13, 2009. Paramount's topper Rob Moore reasoned the move as their attempt to gain commercial success for the movie, saying, "We decided it's a commercial movie that will play well in the spring, and we'll give it an aggressive wide release then."
The AFI FEST will be held from October 30 to November 9 in Los Angeles, California. The event will include tributes to actress Tilda Swinton on November 5, and to director Danny Boyle on November 7. The tributes event will take place at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood. The movies listed to join this festival include Steven Soderbergh's "Che", Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler" and Edward Zwick's "Defiance". The latest is set to close the fest on November 9.