Epix to Broadcast Color Version of ‘Nebraska’ Against Alexander Payne’s Wishes
When Alexander Payne agreed to oversee a colorized version of his Oscar-nominated film Nebraska, he did so under the assumption that next-to-nobody would see the colored product. In November 2013, he told Variety’s Maane Khatchatourian, “Eventually I said, ‘I’ll even give you a colored version for those specific TV outlets in Moldova and Sierra Leone and Laos or wherever,’ So I made a color version. I hope no one ever sees it.” But somewhere along the terms weren’t clear, as the multi-platform network Epix has announced the World Premiere of the color version of Nebraska, set to air Sunday, August 10th at 10pm.
As first reported on by Thompson on Hollywood’s Tom Brueggemann, the news comes as a surprise to Alexander Payne and his team. Albert Berger, one of Nebraska‘s producers, told ToH that he was unaware of Epix’s plans to air a color version of the film. Despite that, Epix’s website is currently airing a 49 second preview (with no footage of the film), touting, “Alexander Payne’s masterful black and white vision, and for the first time, Epix brings you the full color version for a limited time showing.”
Payne cut the budget on Nebraska down to $12 million in order to be allowed to shoot his movie in black-and-white; however, after an expensive awards-season campaign the movie only took in $17 million in domestic gross. Could Epix’s release of a color version be a profit-hoarding move by Paramount Pictures, or just the studio’s only way of recouping some the money it spent?