Roland Emmerich's Shakespeare Drama 'Anonymous' Won't Open Nationwide

Columbia TriStar Marketing Group

Sony has decided to launch the film in only 250 theaters, hoping to build word-of-mouth. Tracking for the Rhys Ifans-Vanessa Redgrave pic has been soft.

Deciding that Roland Emmerich's period drama Anonymous is better suited for a limited release, Sony will launch the film in 250 theaters.

The decision comes less than two weeks before the drama is set to open on Oct. 28. The original plan was to go out nationwide, likely in 2,000 theaters or more.

Sony president of worldwide distribution Rory Bruer said the studio has been mulling the change in the release plan for some time.

"This is a better model for the film, and will fuel word-of mouth," Bruer said. "We'll expand until we are playing nationwide, however."

Anonymous--a distinct departure from Emmerich's big-budget disaster pics--contends that William Shakespeare was merely the front man for Edward de Vere, played by Rhys Ifans. Vanessa Redgrave plays Queen Elizabeth.

Centropolis Entertainment and Studio Babelsberg produced Anonymous.

The news was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.