Idris Elba’s Bastille Day opened in France on Wednesday, July 13th, carefully planned to coincide with the real national holiday weekend.
Directed by James Watkins, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Andrew Baldwin, Idris Elba stars as ex-CIA agent Sean Briar with Richard Madden (Robb Stark, GoT) as American pickpocket Michael Mason. They must work together to stop a terrorist attack in Paris on Bastille Day after Mason steals the wrong bag, literally setting off a high-octane sequence of events.
The film’s 2016 UK and Germany release dates were delayed from February to April and March to June respectively, due to the Paris attacks last November. It opened to mixed, but mainly positive, reviews (especially for Elba), and has generated $9.8m box office so far, having also had releases in Australia, Singapore and the Philippines.
Elba has been attached since November 2013 and principal photography was completed in December 2014. This latest sickening attack, on Bastille Day itself, has prompted drastic action by the distributors. News broke yesterday that StudioCanal permanently removed all promotional material for the film after the killing of 84 people and the wounding of over 200 in Nice.
Unfortunately, the film had been marketed with the tagline: Cette Année, Le Feu d’Artifice C’est Eux (“This year, they are the fireworks”) – mortifying now, as the attack happened whilst people gathered to watch the firework display. The studio will not be recalling the film from the 233 French theatres, but have agreed that the exhibitors have the right to stop all screenings if they wish to.
Focus Features acquired the North American rights to the film in 2014, but a release date has not yet been announced. A day-and-date VOD release through the FocusWorld VOD label is being planned.
Elba can currently be heard in, Star Trek: Beyond, hidden behind prosthetic makeup and apparently underused in a somewhat anorexic role as the embittered, vengeful Krall. It premiered in London on Monday, July 11th and will go on general release on the 22nd.