With Netflix only recently announcing it would give Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic “The Irishman” a nearly four-week exclusive theatrical release before it becomes available to stream, Hollywood is watching closely as the streamer continues to hone its distribution strategy, especially for awards contenders. The growing heavyweight recently confirmed it would give nine other fall movies a similar theaters-first rollout, and of the nine, only “The Two Popes” is receiving the same nearly four-week theatrical as “The Irishman.” Netflix recently released the first trailer for the religious drama, and it could spell Oscar campaigns for lead actors Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce.
The two heavyweights play Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, respectively, in this intimate look at a historic turning point in the Catholic Church. From the trailer, the drama appears to be a two-hander revolving around conversations between the two men who would come to symbolize the tension between traditional Catholicism and Pope Francis’ more progressive, humanist approach. With less than a dozen other actors listed on the IMDb page, it’s safe to assume the film will focus mainly on the two religious figures.
“The Two Popes” was directed by Fernando Meirelles, the Oscar-nominated Brazilian filmmaker who co-directed “City of God” with Kátia Lund. Following the massive success of that film, he went on to direct Rachel Weisz in “The Constant Gardener” (2005), the José Saramago adaptation “Blindness” (2008), and worked with Hopkins previously in the Peter Morgan-penned “360” (2011).
“The Two Popes” was written by Anthony McCarten, a two-time Oscar nominee for his scripts of “Darkest Hour” (2018) and “The Theory of Everything” (2015).
This year marks Netflix’s biggest commitment to theatrical exhibition in a single movie season. In addition to “The Irishman” and “The Two Popes,” it will also give a theatrical release to seven other titles: “The Laundromat,” “Dolemite Is My Name,” “The King,” “Earthquake Bird,” “Marriage Story,” “Klaus,” “I Lost My Body,” and “Atlantics.” Netflix officially became a member of the MPAA in January.
Netflix will release “The Two Popes” in select theaters on November 27 in the US, November 29 in the UK and on Netflix December 20. Check out the first trailer below.