Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Mother) and Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam (Twelve Monkeys, Brothers Grimm) are offbeat visionaries with cult followings, which explains why there's been so much interest among cinema-lovers in their respective upcoming sci-fi films - Snowpiercer and The Zero Theorem - despite neither having received an official release date in the U.S. yet.
Snowpiercer is a graphic novel adaptation that takes place in a wintery post-apocalyptic wasteland, where the last remnants of humanity are living aboard a train - powered by a perpetual-motion engine - one where rebellion is brewing amongst it passengers, in response to the forced class system that's formed onboard. Gilliam's Zero Theorem, by comparison, takes place in a dystopia where commercialism has run amuck, as a troubled scientist is constantly being thwarted in his efforts to prove - via mathematical logic - that existence has a purpose.
Joon-ho's Snowpiercer movie (starring Captain America's Chris Evans, among others) has been showed with praise by international critics, though its release here in the States has been on hold, in part due to a cold war between the Weinsteins (who are backing the project) and the filmmakers, over whether or not to release a truncated version of the film - one that's 20 minutes shorter and features more expository devices (read: slapped-on voiceover), in order to attract a larger audience.
News of a compromise emerged a month ago, as the Weinsteins have decided to release Snowpiercer uncut in the U.S., albeit in a slow-unroll limited release where its expansion to more theaters will depend on its debut box office performance. We now know that will begin on June 27th this summer, which is the same day that Michael Bay's Transformers: Age of Extinction opens in theaters (providing some competition for attention from the sci-fi/geek crowd).
As for Zero Theorem - the film (headlined by two-time Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz) has been picked up for theatrical distribution by Amplify and Well Go USA Entertainment this summer, though an official date has yet to be announced. Gilliam's new zany, yet personal, look at a future gone wrong should find an audience, if only as the indie alternative to the big-budget action-packed cosmic sci-fi fare that will open in theaters this summer (see: Jupiter Ascending, Guardians of the Galaxy).
In other release date news, Focus Features has settled on an October 10th date this year for its true-story historical drama/thriller Kill the Messenger. The film is headlined by Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner (American Hustle) as real-life news reporter Gary Webb, whose life entered a downward spiral in the 1990s after he exposed the CIA's illicit dealings in Nicaragua only to find himself the target of a vicious smear campaign by the organization.
Kill the Messenger features a rock-solid cast - Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Michael Sheen, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead being among the character actors who fill its ranks - drawing from a script by Peter Landesman (Parkland) and directed by Michael Cuesta, who is (probably by no coincidence) an executive producer/director on Showtime's award-winning CIA series Homeland; whether or not Cuesta's big-screen CIA drama will likewise earn the awards season attention that it's so clearly being positioned for, that's another matter.
Finally, some additional U.S. release dates announcements from this past week:
- The Railway Man, the true-story inspired, post-WWII drama starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman; it opens in U.S. theaters on April 11th, 2014.
- Wish I Was Here, Scrubs alum Zach Braff's sophomore directorial feature; it will reach U.S. theaters on July 25th this summer, nearly ten years after his filmmaking debut on the quirky indie Garden State.
- The Purge: Anarchy, the sequel to last year's successful mico-budgeted horror/thriller The Purge; the U.S. release was recently pushed back a month, to July 18th, 2014.
Snowpiercer opens in U.S. theaters on June 27th, 2014.
Kill the Messenger arrives in the U.S. on October 10th, 2014.
Source: Box Office Mojo