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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Moneyball in trouble?

Sporting News Today reports via Variety that the production of Moneyball, the story of how the Oakland A's used statistical analysis to discover undervalued players in the big leagues and put together a competitive team on a shoestring budget. This is a shame as the movie might be an interesting lesson in how private agents utilize information in unpredictable ways to serve their best interests, in this case with the positive spillover that A's fans were able to root for a winning team.

Suddenly the head of Columbia Pictures is like the rest of us: She's having a hard time seeing Moneyball as a movie directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Brad Pitt as A's general manager Billy Beane.

Variety reported that late last week Amy Pascal placed the movie that was supposed to begin production Monday in Phoenix in "limited turnaround," giving Soderbergh the chance to get another studio to pick it up. Pascal, who had supported the project initially, was uncomfortable with a rewrite of the script by Soderbergh, and apparently ended Columbia's backing, Variety reported.

If a new financier doesn't emerge, Columbia could try to replace Soderbergh, hoping Pitt doesn't bail, or Pascal and Soderbergh could try and get back on the same page. If neither of those options works, then Pascal could just let the project die.
Another long-rumored Pitt project, Atlas Shrugged, seems to go through slightly different trials but with the same result. A potentially powerful movie for individualism goes by the wayside.

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