Harvey Weinstein is behaving in a typical fashion: changing release dates. “The Founder,” starring “Spotlight” and “Birdman” star Michael Keaton as Ray Croc, the man who launched the McDonald’s billion-dollar empire, is now slotted for a December 16 debut.
The expansive movie mogul has always waited to see how his movies turn out before deciding where to slot them, driving exhibitors crazy. Last year in Cannes he promoted period triangle romance “Tulip Fever” with Alicia Vikander on hand, but wound up moving it first to August and then all the way back to 2017. It clearly did not pass muster as an awards flick. (Or the mogul lacks the funds to release it in 2016.)
This year, Weinstein debuted at a special Cannes screening fighter biopic “Hands of Stone” (August 26), starring Robert De Niro as a man who is in the corner of Panamanian fighter Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez).
He initially scheduled “The Founder,” directed by John Lee Hancock, for Thanksgiving 2015, then pushed it to August 5, 2016 for wide release. Now Weinstein has decided to move the movie back into the Oscar game, pushing the date to December 16 for a qualifying run for awards consideration, followed by a wider release January 20th, away from the congested (and expensive) holiday fray.
Hancock’s “The Blind Side” landed a Best Picture nomination and a Best Actress win for Sandra Bullock. Campaigning for Keaton will only enhance awareness of the movie, whether or not it delivers as a crowdpleaser or all-out awards contender. It will be revealing to see if Weinstein floats the movie’s viability via the gauntlet of fall film festivals.
Sure to show up there will be the Weinsteins’ other awards contender, Garth Davis’s Calcutta drama “Lion” (November 25), starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara, which carries advance buzz.