Focus Features is picking up the domestic distribution of Working Title's The Boat That Rocked from parent studio Universal and is having filmmaker Richard Curtis create a leaner version for American audiences after the film's mixed run overseas, according to Variety.
Universal was set to release the ensemble comedy in the U.S. on Aug. 28, but Focus has pushed back the release to some time in November.
The film's so-so performance at the international box office this spring marked a rare disappointment for Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner's Working Title. The film, which cost upward of $50 million to produce, was expected to play like a broad comedy.
But it drew poor reviews and came in below expectations in the U.K., where it cumed $9.1 million. International gross to date is $25.1 million. It did show promise in France and Australia, indicating that there's a specialized audience for the film.
Focus prexy James Schamus said his team is working with Curtis to trim about 20 minutes from the film, which originally ran 129 minutes. A chief complaint from critics was the film's length.
"It will be a shorter, leaner version. We think it is a real crowd-pleaser. We love a challenge, and we love working with Working Title," Schamus said.
The Boat That Rocked borrows a page from British history in telling the story of a pirate radio station that beams rock 'n' roll into the U.K. in the 1960s. Station operates from a tanker on the high seas. Cast includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh and January Jones.