Lonergan notoriously sparred with studio Fox Searchlight over creative differences, causing the film’s release to be dealyed for five years. Searchlight ended up forcing Lonergan to release a 2-1/2 hour cut, abbreviated from his preferred 186-minute version.
But the controversy didn’t stop there. Searchlight dumped the film, which stars Anna Paquin and Matt Damon, in a mere 14 theaters with little advertising, causing it to predictably tank at the box office (it grossed only $46,000). But that was enough for a vocal group of film bloggers to see it, praising the originality of Lonergan’s work (albeit condensed) and arguing it deserved awards consideration. When Searchlight failed to provide awards season screeners to voters, they revolted.
Thanks to their efforts, Searchlight ultimately held a few FYC screenings and was able to produce screeners for the Academy, which didn’t ultimately nominate the movie for anything (big surprise).
But now, at long last, everyone who wants to see Margaret will be able to, from the comfort of their home. What’s more, Searchlight’s Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack will include Lonergan’s original, intended 186-minute cut.
Margaret will hit American store shelves on July 10. You can pre-order it on Amazon here.