Last week, The Weinstein Company showed their hand a bit early, but revealing they’d put “Mary Magdalene,” “The Current War,” and “Wind River” on their 2017 calendar. To the more cynically minded (or, for anyone who has watched the indie studio over the past few years), there was some scoffing that it was inevitable that at least one of those movies would wind up being pushed back and/or caught in the Weinsteins release schedule purgatory (like, for example, “Tulip Fever” starring Alicia Vikander). Perhaps hearing those concerns, Harvey and co. have put some dates down, making clear their intention that they are hungry to be major players at the Oscars again, after a relatively quiet year.
“Mary Magdalene” starring Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix is perhaps the biggest of the bunch, reuniting the duo from “Her,” in a Biblical tale directed by “Lion” helmer Garth Davis. Indeed, the Weinsteins are going with the same rollout as the Google Earth drama, setting “Mary Magdalene” to debut on November 24th, which makes a fall festival premiere at Telluride or TIFF (or both) very likely.
Next up, Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon will do battle as electricity innovators in the period drama “The Current War.” Set for a limited released on December 22nd, to get cynical again, it seems like the kind of date that gives the Weinsteins some wiggle room to quietly push it to 2018, if the picture directed by Alfonso Gomez‐Rejon (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl“) doesn’t quite smell like a contender. Sorta like what the Weinsteins did with “The Founder” and “Gold” — tiny qualifying runs in December, and then barely promoted wide releases in the early part of the year.
Lastly, the studio is hoping to copy the “Hell Or High Water” strategy and earn the same results with “Wind River.” The directorial debut of ‘HOHW’ and “Sicario” screenwriter Taylor Sheridan stars Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner, and tells another gritty tale of law and order, and came out of Sundance with good notices. A late summer bow on August 4th might not seem like an Oscar gambit, until you remember that ‘HOHW’ essentially opened in the same frame, and wound up with four Oscar nominations.
Thoughts? Let us know below. [THR]