As the year edges from summer into fall, the film industry moves away from summer blockbusters and toward awards-season prestige projects. Among these releases are two films which practically scream Oscar-bait: Grace of Monaco, which stars Nicole Kidman as legendary Hollywood star-turned-princess Grace Kelly and Foxcatcher, with Steve Carell playing schizophrenic chemical-fortune heir John Du Pont.
Despite some intriguing early looks at both films, the studios backing them have decided to pull them from their original release dates later this year and move them to 2014. Grace of Monaco, which follows Grace Kelly as she deals with a crisis of marriage and identity along with political turmoil, was originally slated for a limited release on November 17 and Foxcatcher was set to premiere on December 20.
According to THR, The Weinstein Company decided that Grace of Monaco needed more time in post-production. Coming Soon says roughly the same thing about Foxcatcher. Sony Pictures Classics stated that it "supports the decision of the filmmakers to allow for more time to finish the film."
Earlier this week, a full-length trailer for Foxcatcher was leaked online and then shortly pulled from most outlets. It's unclear if this had anything to do with the sudden decision to move the release date, and since the movie is listed as "completed" on IMDb (admittedly an arbitrary way to measure these things), this news is a little surprising.
There was a short window to view the trailer, and it was fascinating. Steve Carell is famous for his goodhearted but dopey Michael Scott on The Office, but ever since has been taking a series of roles which illustrate his growing range. He'll take safe films like Evan Almighty, but he was quietly impressive in roles like the suicidal Proust scholar in Little Miss Sunshine and the widowed advice columnist in Dan In Real Life.
In Foxcatcher, Carell treads far darker terrain - his character John Du Pont was a multimillionaire and, among other things, a wrestling enthusiast who built his own training facility on his Foxcatcher Farm. Du Pont developed a friendship with Olympic wrestling champion David Schultz (played by Mark Ruffalo) and began coaching his brother Mark (Channing Tatum). Du Pont was also a paranoid schizophrenic, and the story turns tragic when Du Pont loses control.
Grace of Monaco's shifted release date appears to be partially due to the need to finish post-production, but it is also one of The Weinstein Company's already-crowded awards-season list of films. This fall will see the release of August: Osage County, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and One Chance.
Both films have prestigious directors behind them: Foxcatcher's Bennett Miller saw his last two films, Moneyball and Capote, both nominated for Best Picture, with Phillip Seymour Hoffman winning a Best Actor statuette for his role in the latter. Grace of Monaco helmer Olivier Dahan directed Marion Cottilard to a Best Actress trophy for her role as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose. Both films appeared to be a lock for awards consideration, but this move could be an indication that the studios have considerable faith in the pictures' commercial possibilities, as well.
Foxcatcher and Grace of Monaco will be released in 2014, with dates to be determined.