MARGOT Robbie’s upcoming Tonya Harding biopic I, Tonya has been making headlines since before it even started filming — but it seems that’s not enough to convince major Hollywood studios it has the makings of a hit film.
The upcoming black comedy sports film sees Robbie play professional figure skater Harding, who was banned from the sport for life after a 1994 attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan.
The scandal rocked the sport, and with Hollywood stars including Robbie, Allison Janney and Bobby Cannavale starring in the film, buzz around I, Tonya has been high.
However, Variety now reports that the studio bidding war for the film at the recent Toronto Film Festival “never got as hot as the agents and producers thought it would,” with many major studios passing on the opportunity to snap up the rights to the film.
“CBS Films had bid $US6 million prior to the screening, but lowered the bid to $US2 million after the film showed,” Variety states.
Indeed, buzz from the Film Festival was that I, Tonya had “limited commercial appeal.” A deal for $US5 million was eventually struck with indie studios Neon and 30WEST, meaning the film is likely destined for smaller art house cinemas — and smaller audiences.
The movie introduces itself as based on “irony free, wildly contradictory, totally true” interviews with Harding and Jeff Gillooly, Harding’s scheming ex-husband. Gillooly and Harding’s bodyguard, Shawn Eckhardt, became tabloid regulars after they were arrested for hiring an attacker to break the leg of Harding’s top competition, Kerrigan, in 1994.
While I, Tonya seems unlikely to be a breakaway hit for Robbie, she’s still got several big films on the horizon — she’ll play none other than Queen Elizabeth 1 in upcoming British historical drama Mary Queen of Scots, due for release next year.