Universal has set an early 2021 release date for its spy thriller, 355. Studio tentpoles based on original concepts are in short supply these days, unless they happen to have a big name like Dwayne Johnson attached (and even then, they sometimes wind up on Netflix instead) or are being developed by Christopher Nolan. In the case of the upcoming 355, the film boasts a star-studded ensemble led by Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong'o, Penélope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, and Diane Kruger, playing a group of spies from around the globe who form a team dubbed 355.
355, which is now a slang term for any woman spy and originated during the U.S. Revolutionary War, started to come together in May 2018 and eventually went into production this past June, reuniting Chastain with her X-Men: Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg (who also wrote the film with Smash creator Theresa Rebeck). The film's supporting cast is further buoyed by names like Edgar Ramírez and Sebastian Stan, in addition to the aforementioned leads. Now, the movie's gotten an official release date too.
As of today, 355 is officially set to hit theaters on January 15, 2021. It will fill the spot previously reserved for an untitled Universal "event" film, and is the only movie scheduled for that Friday at the moment.
In the past, 355 has been described as the beginning of a potential secret agent franchise in the vein of James Bond or Charlie's Angels. Chastain, for her part, has expressed a desire to be authentic to real-life agencies (like the CIA or MI6) with the film's portrayal of the spy world, so the movie could hew closer to the Bourne property in that respect. 355 is also one of two projects Chastain's working on that could end up getting sequels in the future, with the other being Netflix's big screen adaptation of Tom Clancy's The Division video games (which she and Jake Gyllenhaal are set to star in, with Deadpool 2 and Hobbs & Shaw director David Leitch calling the shots).
Competition will be lighter when 355 hits theaters in mid-January 2021, as the holdovers from the 2020 winter holidays will have done most of their damage at the box office by then. January itself has long been a dumping ground for studios; but, as the tentpole landscape has continued to evolve, it's started to become a useful launch pad for mid-range budgeted, original films (a la 355), where they don't have to go head to head with hotly-anticipated blockbusters. If all goes to plan, 355 will allow Chastain and especially Kinberg to leave their misfire on Dark Phoenix firmly in their rearview mirror and move on to a better and brighter tomorrow.