In an interview titled "Roland Emmerich talks Shakespeare . . ." with Jeremey Gingrich published this month at Flix 66, Roland Emmerich said attacks by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and by Contested Will author James Shapiro against his Shakespeare authorship film, Anonymous, hurt the film's attendance. According to Gingrich, Emmerich said:
It hurt. Because it made smart people not want to see the film. These guys are famous people. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is very powerful in England and Jim Shapiro is kind of your typical New York intellectual, and they were very smart how they handled this film in discrediting the film. And when you look at the reviews, you'll notice most were reviewing the [authorship] theory and not the film.The film opened to disappointing box office last fall, and was released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on DVD, Blu-Ray, and iTunes this week. Despite impressive CGI and extraordinary performances by Vanessa Redgrave and Rhys Ifans, the film garnered only one Oscar nomination: for costuming. When asked by Gingrich if the Academy's snub could be related to detractors who despised the story's controversial point-of-view, Emmerich said, "Yes".
Despite lack of Academy acclaim, the talent and vision that moved Emmerich to bring this story to life has forever changed the Shakespeare authorship controversy by opening the discussion to an ever-fascinated public.
The home entertainment release of Anonymous includes several special features including the short "Who is the Real William Shakespeare?", commentary by Emmerich and screenwriter John Orloff, and deleted scenes.