Most of the big awards contenders set out their stalls on the release calendar long ago: even Kathryn Bigelow‘s “Zero Dark Thirty” had picked out its December release date months before it actually went into production. But there was one exception, and it’s potentially the heaviest hitter of them all: Steven Spielberg‘s “Lincoln.” A biopic of the greatest president, by America’s most beloved director, and starring the most acclaimed actor of his generation, Daniel Day-Lewis, in the title role, atop an all-star cast, the film’s long been thought to be a major awards player, but hadn’t found an exact release peg, with Spielberg only saying that it would come after the elections, to avoid accusations of influencing the vote.
And it turns out Spielberg wasn’t kidding, as The Wrap has revealed that the film will hit theaters on November 9th, only three days after President Obama and Mitt Romney go head-to-head at the ballot box. And Abe has his own battle on his hands, as that’s the same day that “Skyfall,” the hotly-anticipated new James Bond film from director Sam Mendes, goes on release in the U.S.
It won’t quite be a fair fight, it should be said: “Lincoln” will only be in limited release on the 9th (Joe Wright‘s “Anna Karenina” will also start to roll out the same day), before going wider the following week, November 16th, when “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two” and “Rust & Bone” will be arriving in theaters as well. It’s a smart move, frankly — last year’s “War Horse” got buried under other prestige releases last Christmas, whereas this lets a film with far greater box office appeal play through Thanksgiving and beyond.
More than one Playlist staffer swore off Spielberg after last year’s disappointing double-header of “War Horse” and “The Adventures of Tintin,” but this writer’s still excited for “Lincoln,” personally — it’s got a script by Tony Kushner, who penned “Munich,” Spielberg’s best film of the last two decades (since “Schindler’s List,” anyway), and the cast is positively mouthwatering, with Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jackie Earle Haley, Tommy Lee Jones, Jared Harris, James Spader, Lee Pace, David Strathairn, John Hawkes, Adam Driver, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bruce McGill, Tim Blake Nelson, Walton Goggins, Hal Holbrook, David Oyelowo and more all joining Day-Lewis. We’ll find out if our faith is misplaced on November 9th; hopefully we’ll see a trailer before too long.