As is the case every year, lots of news flows out of the Cannes Film Festival, and there is one piece in particular that caught my eye this morning more for something it states that goes unremarked upon.
IndieWire is carrying a notice about a $100 million co-financing deal between Millennium Films and an outfit called West Coast Film Partners. The first project that will benefit from this collaboration according to the story is director Antoine Fuqua’s thriller White House Taken.
Now, we’ve been following the development of a pair of White House-invaded-by-terrorists films for a while, and while the project over at Sony is called White House Down, the Fuqua project at Millennium up until now has been referred to as Olympus Has Fallen, a reference to a secret service code used in the film to indicate that the Executive Mansion is in the hands of terrorists. Could it be that someone at IndieWire crossed a mental wire and reported the wrong name for the project? If so, they would have had to do so three times – Once in the headline and twice in the body of their story.
More likely is that Millennium has indeed changed the name of their project, probably hoping to avoid having potential ticket buyers think that Olympus Has Fallen is some sort of Clash Of The Titans sequel. And since we saw how movie goers stayed away from a real sequel to that film, I suppose we can’t blame them for that line of thinking.
Unfortunately, this name change will only lead to another form of confusion with its similarity to the Roland Emerich-directed project being prepped at Sony. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony were to raise a fuss about it. Granted, Millennium was first to announce a White House invasion thriller project, beating Sony to the punch by several weeks. But Sony’s project, with a script by James Vanderbilt (which I quite enjoyed) and Channing Tatum in contention to star, was the first to use “White House” in the title. I expect that as both projects further progress, someone is going to blink and change their name. And I suspect that it will be Millennium.