On Friday, just three days before the movie was to begin shooting, Sony scrapped Steven Soderbergh’s $57 million Brad Pitt–starring adaptation of Moneyball, shocking even those who were previously shocked that a film adaptation of a book about baseball statistics ever got a green light in the first place. But why? For plenty of excellent reasons! The decision reportedly came after Sony chairman Amy Pascal read a new, week-old draft of Soderbergh’s screenplay that was drastically different than Steven Zaillian’s earlier versions, which she’d liked. Also, Pascal is likely asserting her ability to back off on an unsure bet during an economic apocalypse. Additionally, baseball movies don’t play internationally, which is where all the money is now that nobody buys DVDs anymore.
Sony gave Soderbergh until today to find a new studio, and if one doesn’t emerge, they withhold the right to replace him (which presumably means losing Pitt) or kill the project altogether (which seems like the most likely scenario). We wish this all meant a more immediate release date for Cleo, his even-crazier-sounding 3-D musical based on the life of Cleopatra, though it probably just means the only way Soderbergh will get a movie financed by a major studio right now is if its title contains the word “Ocean’s.”