In this day and age a significant enough amount of social indignation can be enough to ruin schedules and timetables when it comes to business, like with the movie industry. Case in point is “The Current War,” a historical film by Thunder Road Pictures about the conflict between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse for the adoption of direct and alternating current systems in electrical power. The snag was that its distributor was The Weinstein Company, at a time when Harvey Weinstein was in deep trouble for sexual abuse allegations. This caused the movie to be pulled from a 2017 release.
After languishing in limbo however, “The Current War” will finally see its time on cinemas under new distributors according to Entertainment Weekly. Directed two years ago by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon the movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Edison, who espouses his direct current (DC) power against the competing alternating current (AC) system being used by engineer George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) and his major supporter Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult). This historically happened in the late 19th Century from 1888 to 1890, with demonstrations from both camps trying to promote their power generation at the expense of the other.
“The Current War” managed to premiere first at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 2017, with a planned general release the following November. Unfortunately the scandal with Harvey Weinstein caused theaters to shun all completed productions from The Weinstein Co. at the time. The movie was rescued by Lantern Entertainment, but it would not be until this year that they were able to secure distribution for the film. 101 Studios will handle the US premiere while Lantern distributes “The Current War” internationally. Gomez-Rejon remarks that the wait for a release under the new owner was painful, but is relived that his latest work will get its chance for screening.
To celebrate the upcoming release that was delayed so long, a new trailer for “The Current War” was also released. It revisits the original preview’s beats on the growing competition between Edison and Westinghouse, one that devolves into mudslinging to scare potential electricity users from one power system and favor the other. Focus is given to Edison’s claims that Westinghouse AC power is deadly, and that the system was copied off DC. Tesla also figures in the eventual confrontation between DC and AC power, the winner of which will be how future electricity is generated.
Gomez-Rejon mentions that the time between the original and new release dates enabled the production to add new scenes into “The Current War.” Martin Scorsese served as executive producer for the film, which will premiere on limited release October 4. General release comes October 11.
Image: Film and TV Now