"You, Me & the Circus" Will Finally Get a Theatrical Release
A trailer for the independent film "You, Me & the Circus" has been circulating on the Internet for several months, since at least the fall of 2011. In fact, that full theatrical trailer, which clocks in at just over a minute in length, wasn't the first video to turn up on the Web from the film. A 2-minute mash-up of stills from the movie mixed with a sample of the animated opening credits, has been around since August 2011.
Why, then, has the film not been released a full year later? It is almost never easy for an independent film on a miniscule budget to make it to the big screen at all. For each big surprise indie success like "The Artist," which took home multiple Academy Awards, there is an equal amount of films that never make it to the big screen. In fact, many independent films either end up going directly to DVD or Video on Demand (VOD) platforms. Some don't even get that lucky, as no studio or distributor is willing to take a chance on them. Those end up never being seen outside of the people who were a part of the production.
"You, Me & the Circus" almost fell into the latter category. It is hard to understand why that is, because it is based on a somewhat conventional premise: four friends have a series of deep conversations together and end up falling in and out of love in the process. There have been many movies where couples end up falling for each by just talking, and some have become big hits.
Perhaps studio executives were scared off by the few unconventional twists in the plot. The four friends in question are circus workers. They are part of a traveling show, so they don't have roots. Each of them is a nomad in reality, if not in spirit as well. It is hard to maintain a relationship when one or both parties are constantly traveling. Perhaps that is why they begin to fall for each other-out of convenience rather than real love.
The movie is a full-on drama. There is not a lot of comic relief in the film, which may also drive away studio heads who have the option to pick up the film for distribution. Though audiences do enjoy a good love story, they usually like it to have at least a sprinkle of funny, such as in a romantic comedy, or to be a weepy drama, like "Love Story." "You, Me & the Circus" falls somewhere in between those two, which can put it in a state of movie limbo.
In a caustic movie climate where supposed sure things like "Battleship" completely bomb, movie executives are gun shy. They have a hard time taking a chance on an unconventional love drama, especially when there are no big name stars. A studio may take a chance on a quirky drama if it has a recognizable actor in it, because big name actors play well overseas. Even if the movie isn't very good, if it has a superstar like Angelina Jolie or George Clooney in it, it will likely recoup its costs. With "You, Me & the Circus," the only recognizable actor is Matt Dallas, who had a long stint on the ABC Family drama "Kyle XY." Even with the popularity of that show, he isn't exactly a household name.
The rest of Dallas's co-stars have a much thinner resume. Anita Briem, who gets second billing behind Dallas, did four episodes of "The Tudors" in 2008 and has mostly appeared in short films or direct-to-video fare since. However, there are a few small cameos by much bigger celebrities, including Columbus Short, Omar Epps and Marlon Wayans.
Despite the lack of big names, the movie does have a lot to recommend itself. There are several musical numbers that were styled in the vein of Bob Fosse. Director and co-writer Ty Hodges-who also stars in the film-is a seasoned stage veteran, having grown up touring the world with a theater group. Perhaps that is why he could write so well about the circus and the vagabond lives of circus performers. No matter why he made the film, it is finally getting a true theatrical release on September 4, 2012.