The Quorum

The curious case of ON A WING AND A PRAYER

UPDATE: Amazon has finally dropped a trailer for ON A WING AND A PRAYER. But the real news is that the film will NOT be getting a theatrical release. Instead, it is going directly to Amazon Prime.

What exactly is happening with ON A WING AND A PRAYER? The film, starring Dennis Quaid and Heather Graham, is scheduled to be released on April 7th. Or is it? Will the long-delayed movie finally arrive in theaters next month, or will it be pushed again?

Last week, United Artists gave us this still image for the film, which is based on the true-life story of a man who must land a plane after the pilot dies. It seemed as though this image would be the beginning of the marketing ramp-up. But just about a month before its scheduled release, there is still no official poster or trailer. That hoped-for marketing campaign has yet to materialize.

This is curious for several reasons. First, on the heels of JESUS REVOLUTION opening to a heavenly $16M last weekend, it is clear that there is an appetite for faith-based films in the marketplace. Second, one would think that United Artists would have released a trailer last week so that it could play in front of CREED III. There may not be much audience overlap between the two films, but CREED III would have afforded the film a sizeable captive audience.

The film is nowhere to be found on the MGM website, and yet, by all accounts, PRAYER is still slated to open next month. Will it make that date? In most cases, films without key art or trailers within a month of their scheduled release get pushed or shelved.

Earlier this year, Universal’s long-gestating film sci-fi comedy DISTANT was scheduled to be released on January 27th. But, like PRAYER, as that new year rolled around and the film was just weeks from debuting, there was no artwork or trailer. Universal quietly pulled that film off the release schedule and has yet to re-date it.

Could PRAYER suffer the same fate? Does the absence of a campaign mean the film gets pulled? Not necessarily. Consider the case of OPERATION FORTUNE: RUSE DE GUERRE, which was set up at STX and slated for an early 2022 release. Lionsgate picked up the film from STX and announced just two weeks ago that the film would open against CREED III. That’s right, GUERRE was given a 14-day run-up to release with little fanfare and little in the way of a marketing campaign.

While we wait to see if PRAYER sees the light of day, one thing we know is that only a few people know about the film. Awareness was at 10% back when we started tracking the movie in May last year, and today it sits at 13%.

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