It may just be the middle of April, but studios are locking in their release dates for Oscar season. Today A24 set Yorgis Lanthimos‘ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” for a limited debut on Nov. 3. The studio previously opened its most successful awards season players, “Moonlight” and “Room,” in October.
Normally announcing this date wouldn’t be that significant in the ongoing puzzle of theatrical release dates, but “Killing” will screen in competition at the 70th Festival de Cannes next month. That means it will be shown to the world – and more importantly critics – over five months before its public debut. It goes without saying that the fact A24 would set the date on such an optimal date shows they have utmost confidence in the film.
Lanthimos’ follow-up to “The Lobster,” little is known about “Killing” except the logline (“A teenager’s attempts to bring a brilliant surgeon into his dysfunctional family takes an unexpected turn”) and the fact Colin Farrell is playing the surgeon and Nicole Kidman is the surgeon’s wife. The film also stars Alicia Silverstone and Bill Camp, among others.
This is Farrell’s second film with Lanthimos and he’ll also appear opposite Kidman in Sofia Coppola‘s “The Beguiled” which also premieres at Cannes and Focus Features is planning on releasing on June 30.
Need more evidence the Oscar calendar is coming into view? Earlier this week Fox Searchlight announced Martin McDonagh‘s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” with Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell will open on Oct. 13. The mini-major also revealed Simon Curtis‘ “Goodbye Christopher Robin” with Margot Robbie and Domhnall Gleeson will hit theaters in limited release on Nov. 10. It had earlier announced “Battle of the Sexes” with Emma Stone and Steve Carell would hit the court on Sept. 22.
Previously dated films this fall include “Blade Runner 2049” in the successful “Argo“/”Gravity” slot of the first weekend of October (Oct. 6), “Thank You For Your Service” on Oct. 27, George Clooney‘s “Suburbicon” with Matt Damon and Julianne Moore on Nov. 3 and Kenneth Branagh‘s remake of “Murder on the Orient Express” on Nov. 22. Sundance standout “Call Me By Your Name,” Joe Wright‘s “Darkest Hour” with Gary Oldman and Gareth Davis‘ “Mary Magdalene” with Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara and Chiwetel Ojiofor are all currently opening on Nov. 24. Paramount currently has Alexander Payne‘s “Downsizing,” which wowed CinemaCon with a sneak peek last month, on Dec. 22 (we’d remind Paramount that no movie released in December has won Best Picture in 12 years but they are no doubt aware). 20th Century Fox will unveil “The Greatest Showman” with Hugh Jackman on Christmas.
Christopher Nolan‘s “Dunkirk,” debuting on July 21, and Kathryn Bigelow‘s “Detroit,” arriving on Aug. 4, are two rare summer releases that are expected to have an impact on awards season.
Films currently undated include “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson, Todd Haynes‘ “Wonderstruck” (also in competition at Cannes), Dee Rees‘ Sundance drama “Mudbound,” Alex Garland‘s “Annihilation,” Woody Allen‘s “Wonder Wheel” with Kate Winslet and the currently “Untitled Paul Anderson Project” that reunites Anderson with Daniel Day-Lewis.
The aforementioned “Beguiled” and Daren Aranofsky‘s “mother!” with Jennifer Lawrence are two prestige players that currently (and an emphasis on “currently”) are not believed to be true awards contenders. James Mangold‘s “Logan” will earn some chatter in awards circles this fall, but temper your expectations on that one true believers.