BySarah Billington, writer at

With the rise in popularity of post-apocalyptic and dystopic stories, studios have been snapping up the rights of books in these genres for a couple of years, particularly for the ever lucrative teen demographic that has so successfully drawn in adults as well.

One of those books that were snapped up for film what feels like an age ago, was Robert C. O'Brien's 1974 Newberry Prize-winning nuclear fallout story, Z for Zachariah. A short, yet chilling novel, it focuses on 16-year-old Anna Burden, alone for a year in a protected valley after nuclear war who begins to lose hope that other survivors even exist until one enters her valley in a hazmat suit and maybe not the best of intentions.

Like 2013's nuclear war adaptation of How I Live Now, Z for Zachariah will certainly a quieter tale than, say, The Hunger Games, Divergent or The Maze Runner, and focus on the more subdued human drama that comes from characters in isolation, not running for their lives. The book has amassed the attention of generations of readers - I mean, I discovered it in the mid-nineties, and 41 years later it is still on bookstore shelves today.

This is a movie, given the marketing it deserves, that has forty years of readers, a potentially huge built-in audience of all ages that studios bargain on when purchasing the rights to adapt novels to film.

But over the years since its initial announcement there seemed to be a marketing radio silence. No big release of a film trailer (or film trailer at all), minimal stills released from the shoot, no poster, even!

One of the few promotional images online
One of the few promotional images online

There has been no hype build up at all.

Considering it stars not only Captain Kirk himself, Chris Pine, but Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor and well-and-truly up and arrived star Margot Robbie, I had to assume the silence meant the project had been shelved, if not canned entirely.

But upon checking the Internet Movie Database, I found to my shock (and delight, of course) that, in fact, the movie has already released! Premiering at Sundance Film Festival in January 2015 to (if this writer who has been actively anticipating its release didn't hear about it) with quite clearly very little fanfare.

It's unclear as to whether after its premiere it has been shelved even though consensus looks to have been favourable (at time of writing, Z for Zachariah has an 80% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes - though from only 10 reviews) or still sourcing distribution and to hit cinemas at a later date, I, for one, hope the film reaches its audience and does well. But with the severely limited promotional efforts for this star-studded cast (there are literally only three cast members and they are all big stars) I can't see that it will.


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