Peter Jackson can take pride in having the widest range of box office this season. His “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” has made just a whisker under $1 billion worldwide since December 14th. He’s busy preparing the sequels right now. On the other hand, another Jackson project, a documentary about the West Memphis Three, has made just $82,000 since its release on December 25th. Amy Berg directed “West of Memphis,” which was not nominated for an Oscar but has been included in a few other awards nominations.
I wrote about “West of Memphis” critically last year because I said it encroached on Joe Berlinger’s 15 year project spanning three films — “Paradise Lost.” The first “PL” in 1996 won a Primetime Emmy Award. The third and final installment was nominated for an Oscar last year. As Berlinger was finishing up part 3, Berg arrived in Little Rock armed with Jackson’s considerable war chest and the ability to buy up rights to the stories of subsidiary characters. Jackson had helped fund the defense team for the West Memphis Three along with several other celebrities.
So it didn’t really work out. “Paradise Lost” remains the final word on the West Memphis Three story.But a feature film directed by Atom Egoyan is coming, based on a book called “Devil’s Knot” with Reese Witherspoon. Berlinger and co-director Bruce Sinofsky play themselves in the movie. Berlinger is coming off a great success with a documentary about Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” The “Paradise Lost” trilogy is now on DVD.
Berg is now involved in a biopic of Jeff Buckley and starting “Every Secret Thing” with Diane Lane and Elizabeth Banks. “West of Memphis” will go to video and TV.