“The Butler” is preparing to move to August 16.
“Precious” director Lee Daniels’ all-star historical drama was originally scheduled to be released October 18, in time for awards season, but The Weinstein Company has pushed it up two months, according to Deadline.
“Butler” stars Oscar winner Forest Whitaker as Eugene Allen, a White House butler who worked with eight presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan, throughout the Civil Rights movement.
The film features an awards-friendly supporting cast, including Oprah Winfrey (Oscar-nominated for “The Color Purple”), Oscar winners Vanessa Redgrave and Cuba Gooding, Jr., Oscar nominee Terrence Howard, and “Precious” vets Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz.
The sprawling cast also includes big names playing presidents, including Robin Williams (as Ike), James Marsden (JFK), Liev Schreiber (LBJ), John Cusack (Nixon) and Alan Rickman (Reagan).
The first half of August has traditionally been kind to films skewed toward older female audiences. “Hope Springs” (August 8, 2012), “The Help,” (August 10, 2011), “Eat Pray Love” (August 13, 2010) and “Julie and Julia” (August 7, 2009) all found box office success in the time frame.
Will the move give “The Butler” an early jump on award season? Another possibility is that TWC’s confidence in the film’s award chances are waning, leading them to simply focus more on the draw of late summer female audiences.