May 2015 was the last time Harvey Weinstein hosted a Cannes presentation at the Majestic Hotel. Among the titles was a preview of Justin Chadwick’s “Tulip Fever,” with the then white-hot Swedish actress Alicia Vikander on hand. A romantic triangle period piece costarring Christoph Waltz and Dane DeHaan, Weinstein later pushed the release from July 2016 to February 2017. Now, two years later, it’s booked for August 25 — the dog days of summer.
Last year, the Weinstein Co. had so few bonafide Oscar contenders on the docket that they didn’t mount their usual Cannes show-and-tell at all. Garth Davis’s “Lion” did yield six nominations and, like critics’ darling “Carol” the year before, no wins. The lengthy awards season did pay off for “Lion” at the box office; it’s made $103 million worldwide. However, it also represents a rare tick in the ‘win’ column for TWC, which is struggling to maneuver in these challenging times.
READ MORE: Harvey Weinstein Isn’t Alone: Why Independent Film Distributors Are Taking a Beating So, bearing in mind that dates will move, let’s dig into the 2017 Weinstein schedule. The spring and summer bring three long-overdue movies (two with new titles) with limited potential, including “Tulip Fever.” But the fall roster looks more promising. Expect some of the undated films to turn up at Cannes or at fall festivals.
Originally titled “Ballerina,” “Leap!” is an animated foreign-financed North American pickup starring Elle Fanning as an 11-year-old orphan who wants to go to Paris and become a dancer. Her best friend (Nat Wolff) at the orphanage plans to be a famous inventor. So they run off to Paris together to pursue their dreams. It opened in December in the U.K. and France, to modest reviews and soft box office.
Also long-delayed, Gaby Dellal’s transgender drama “3 Generations” (formerly titled “About Ray”) debuted at Toronto 2015 to soft reviews. Elle Fanning stars as Ray, a teenager who has struggled with the body assigned to him at birth and is ready to start transitioning. His mother Maggie (Naomi Watts) tracks down Ray’s biological father (Tate Donovan) to get his legal consent to allow Ray’s transition; his lesbian mother Dolly (Susan Sarandon), resists accepting her grandson. It was released last fall in a handful of foreign territories, including Germany and Italy, and earned $375,000. Without reviews, it’s a tough sell.
August 4 (limited)
Debuting at Sundance was “Hell or High Water” Oscar-nominated screenwriter Taylor Sheridan’s well-reviewed directorial debut “Wind River,” a taut mystery thriller about a tracker of predators (Jeremy Renner) who helps a rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) solve a nasty rape/murder on a frozen and remote Native American Reservation. Jon Bernthal and “Hell or High Water” star Gil Birmingham co-star. Typically, the Weinsteins wrangled a bit with the sellers on the deal, but things were straightened out and TWC is giving the film a summer release before the fall festivals, which suggests they do not have high awards hopes.
This is also true of costume drama “Tulip Fever,” which stars Vikander as a Dutch woman married to older gentleman Christoph Waltz, who hires artist Dane DeHaan to paint their portrait. The inevitable triangle ensues. Holliday Grainger, Judi Dench, Matthew Morrison, Tom Hollander, and Cara Delevingne costar.
November 24 (limited)
Slated for an Oscar-friendly Thanksgiving berth is currently filming Biblical drama “Mary Magdalene,” Garth Davis’ “Lion” follow-up (also produced by See Saw, who made “The King’s Speech”). Davis is a strong filmmaker who has attracted a top-drawer cast. In this telling, Magdalene (Rooney Mara) is a young woman who defies her traditional family and leaves her village to join Jesus of Nazareth (Joaquin Phoenix) and his new social movement, including Apostle Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Expectations run high. Weinstein acquired U.S. rights.
December 22 (limited)
Slated for the holidays is strong Oscar prospect “The Current War,” co-financed by Weinstein, written by Michael Mitnick (“The Giver,” “Vinyl”) and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (“Me, Earl and the Dying Girl”). Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”) is in brainy eccentric mode as Thomas Edison in this 19th-century biopic, racing against rival George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) to create a marketable and sustainable electricity system. While Edison champions using a direct current for electric power distribution, Westinghouse Electric and a host of European companies favor an alternating current. Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, Katherine Waterston, Tuppence Middleton, and Matthew MacFayden co-star.
The Weinstein Company
Currently filming in Ireland is independently financed acquisition “Hampstead,” a true story starring Diane Keaton as a scattered American widow living on the edge of the Heath who comes upon a ramshackle hut and an unkempt man (Brendan Gleeson) who is the target of property developers using heavy-handed tactics to remove him.
A final awards possibility is also filming now, produced by TWC: “Untouchable,” Neil Burger’s remake of the French sleeper hit “The Intouchables” ($426 million worldwide), which the Weinsteins released stateside. Bryan Cranston takes on the role of a millionaire quadriplegic while comedian Kevin Hart beat out Chris Tucker, Jamie Foxx, Chris Rock, and Idris Elba for the juicy role of the young ex-con who becomes his challenging caregiver. Weinstein regular Nicole Kidman costars with Aja Naomi King and Julianna Marguiles.
Never count out the Weinsteins. They know how to play hard, even when the ground keeps shifting beneath them.