I guess it was news that “The Gambler” was getting a limited release in December to qualify for awards. This has been in the cards for a while now. Maybe it was all about settling on a date (or even some soul-searching at Paramount, which will be releasing a bunch of movies over a six-month stretch). The date: Dec. 19.
The film is a remake of the 1974 James Caan drama with Mark Wahlberg in the lead. Wahlberg is pretty important to the studio as of late, anchoring the billion-dollar blockbuster “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and whatnot. He dropped a significant amount of weight for the role and could certainly become part of an already over-stuffed Best Actor converstion. But the way I hear it, John Goodman is someone to at least pay attention to in supporting, too. So take all that for what it's worth in early September.
The film was written by Oscar winner William Monahan (“The Departed”) and directed by Rupert Wyatt (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”). Jessica Lange and Brie Larson also star. After the Dec. 19 platform, the film will go wide on Jan. 1, 2015.
It will be part of a packed fall slate for Paramount. Jason Reitman's “Men, Women & Children” is receiving mixed-to-positive word out of Toronto. “Interstellar” is pretty much finished and the gears are surely turning. Ava DuVernay's “Selma” will not be ready for a while so don't expect it at AFI Fest or anything (a late drop alongside WB's “American Sniper” and Universal's “Unbroken” is looking likely). The studio has already done a lot to keep Darren Aronofsky's “Noah” on the surface with Academy screenings in the spring and a likely crafts push. And don't forget the big Best Picture shove for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (kidding).
Something could give. After all, last year the possibility of “The Wolf of Wall Street” exiting the schedule and alleviating a packed quarter was bandied about, not unlike a similar “Shutter Island” move a few years earlier. In the end, it was “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” that left the frame instead. “Selma” probably wants to stay on its latter year platform/wider around MLK Day approach for obvious reasons, and the rest don't seem likely to go anywhere, so probably in the end this is probably what we're looking at. Long days and nights ahead for the publicity and marketing teams on Melrose.
Anyway, add it to the pile. The season is getting crowded.