So, a few adjustments to the release plans for Joe Carnahan‘s upcoming thriller “The Grey.” When the film was picked up last month by Open Road for a cool $8 million — in addition to a $25 million commitment for marketing — it was expected to do a fall festival run before arriving in theaters by the end of the year. Well, both Venice and TIFF have unveiled their slates and “The Grey” is nowhere to be seen and the film won’t arrive this year either with a January 27, 2012 now pegged. So what’s up?
Well, the rest of 2012 is ridiculously packed and this film — a wintry, gritty thriller — is perfectly suited for a January release. The weekend it arrives on finds itself with little in the way of competition with the low rent horror reboot “The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes” and the Katherine Heigl action/comedy thing “One For The Money” both opening. And this should provide more thrills and action than either film, and certainly boasts a great cast. Starring Liam Neeson, Dallas Roberts, James Badge Dale, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Nonso Anozie and Joe Anderson, the story focuses on a group of pipeline workers in Alaska who are flying back to civilization after being remote for a number of months. The 737 they’re on goes down, and they are hunted by a pack of rogue wolves. But, Oscar prognosticators take note, there may be an awards contender in here.
According to Deadline, Carnahan is still finishing the film — hence its absence from the festival scene — but if Neeson’s performance turns out to be as strong as the early footage is indicating, a small, Oscar-contending run may be in the cards. For Neeson, that would certainly be a nice boost as he hasn’t been back to the Kodak theater in contention for an award since 1994 when he was in the running for Best Actor in “Schindler’s List.” Certainly the category seems pretty wide open — at least right now — so Neeson earning a nod for what seems like a decent, but B-movie thriller, is not entirely out of the question. [Deadline]