In 2000, acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan directed his first film, the critically acclaimed You Can Count on Me
, which among other things kickstarted the career of Mark Ruffalo
. In 2006, Lonergan got $12 million to film his follow-up, called Margaret
, and starring Ruffalo, Anna Paquin, Jeannie Berlin, Matt Damon, Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Allison Janney, and Kieran Culkin. Then things got ugly.
Lonergan (figuratively) locked himself in the editing room, clutching a three-hour cut that the studio, Fox Searchlight, considered unreleasable. After three years of negotiations and unheeded advice from various master film editors, the movie got taken away from Lonergan and became the subject of a lawsuit between Searchlight and the production company.
Earlier this year, everyone seemed to finally come to their senses
. Martin Scorsese and his long-time editor Thelma Schoonmaker were brought on to put together a workable cut of the film, and a release date was announced.
On October 1, with little fanfare, an exasperated Fox Searchlight finally dumped Margaret
, now slimmed down to 150 minutes, into limited release. Despite some glowing reviews
from the cinephile intelligentsia
, the film has performed dismally
at the box office even by art-house standards, disappearing from most cities after a one-week run.