In January, we caught our first glimpse of jOBS, the first theatrical feature film based on the life of Steve Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher in the title role and Josh Gad as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. The one-minute excerpt of the movie received a mixed reception: many fans felt the film misrepresented the Apple co-founders' personalities and was thus more style than substance. Woz himself said the scene was "Totally wrong." Curt Vendel, a historian specializing in Jobs' early employer, Atari, added, "If they are going to do something based on real characters, then they should actually try to nail it down better." And early Apple programmer Don Worth wrote, "I don't think the real Woz is that lacking in vision."
It wasn't just hardcore computer fans that were underwhelmed by the film. It also received a cool reception in late January at the Sundance Film Festival, resulting in the film earning a mere 43% approval rating on movie review site Rotten Tomatoes.
In response, the film was delayed from its original release of April 19. Whether any additional time was used to rewrite and reshoot some scenes, or just retool the marketing campaign, I'm unsure. But last week, the newly renamed Jobs received a release date of August 16, as well as its first official trailer:
Based on this early preview, Steve Wozniak still has reservations, reports Gizmodo. Although more accepting of his own character's portrayal, Woz is concerned that Jobs' flaws and failures will be overlooked: "This movie will portray Steve as a saint who was ignored, rather than one of the key people who led Apple through failure after failure (Apple ///, LISA, Macintosh) while the revenues poured in from the Apple ][ that Jobs was trying to kill."
Regardless, the film will likely be a hit with the masses, those whose first Apple product was the iPhone. Snappy dialogue, set pieces that include the actual garage in which Apple Computer Inc. was found, and remarkable casting that includes Matthew Modine as John Sculley may draw the curious to theaters, much as The Social Network popularized the story of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg.
Who do you think is the target audience for this film? Is the guy from That Seventies Show believable as Steve Jobs? Or will you wait for Sony Pictures' and Aaron Sorkin's bigger-budget adaptation of Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs?