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Guillermo del Toro’s ‘The Shape of Water’ Announces Unusual Release Plan

The film will first open in limited release in just one city, a rare move away from the typical New York and Los Angeles-centric openers of similar films.

"The Shape of Water"

“The Shape of Water”

Guillermo del Toro’s much-hyped (and already much-loved) fairy tale romance “The Shape of Water” is moving up one week, but only for a single market. The film will now open in limited release in New York City only on Friday, December 1, giving it the rare distinction of splitting up the traditional opening cities — NYC and Los Angeles — in order to open in just one for its first week.

The following week, on the film’s original release date of December 8, it will open in Los Angeles, expanding to further cities in the subsequent weeks. The Sally Hawkins-starrer’s expanded release date has not yet been publicized, but the awards contender will likely enjoy a healthy run throughout the month of December.

While it’s unclear why the Golden Lion winner will hit screens part of such an unusual split, the reasons for such a choice are myriad, from the expectations of reviews from certain city papers to a push towards post-screening Q&As on opening weekend that could be rounded out with talents hitting both cities on subsequent weekends.

The weekend of December 1 is also slightly less crowded at the box office, as only a handful of films — and so far, no wide releases — are scheduled to bow on the post-Thanksgiving week. Del Toro’s film will now join “The Disaster Artist” and “Wonder Wheel” that Friday, while December 8 plays home to other heavy hitters like “I, Tonya” and “All the Money in the World.”

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