If there's anything Steven Soderbergh has proven he's good at, it's assembling a cast of big name stars to appear in a movie about an elaborate heist. Soderbergh first directed a heist film in 2001 with his remake of Ocean's Eleven, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, then returned to the genre for sequels Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen. For his return to the big screen, Soderbergh is once again staging a heist.
In Soderbergh's Logan Lucky, Adam Driver and Channing Tatum play brothers trying to pull of a heist during a big NASCAR race, and by doing so reverse a family curse. Supporting those two actors will be a very Ocean's-like all-star cast, including Daniel Craig, Sebastian Stan, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank, and Seth MacFarlane.
Variety reports that the movie now has a release date of August 18, 2017. Soderbergh spoke about the new distribution company he set up along with former Warner Bros. executive Dan Fellman to handle the Logan Lucky release in conjunction with Bleecker Street.
“This is the result of sixteen years of conversations I’ve had with Dan about creating a new distribution paradigm for star-driven, wide release projects. With ‘Logan Lucky’ I have the right movie, the right team, and the right partner in Bleecker Street to test some personal theories I’ve accumulated. It’s put-up-or-shut-up time.”
What does Soderbergh mean when he talks about "creating a new distribution paradigm?" Clearly he is trying to introduce something innovative to the movie biz through his company Fingerprint Distribution, and therefore has a lot at stake with Logan Lucky. Given those stakes, it's probably not surprising that the director chose a genre he's so comfortable with. All three Ocean's films were solid hits, with the trilogy grossing a total of $1.124 billion worldwide. The Ocean's films had Warner Bros. behind them, but Logan Lucky won't get that kind of big studio push.
The cast of Logan Lucky may not quite have the same star-power that the Ocean's films had, but the top three of Driver, Tatum, and Craig is pretty formidable and should put some butts in seats. If nothing else, it should be intriguing to watch Craig in a rare comedic performance, with bleach blonde hair and playing a character amazingly named Joe Bang. Tatum and Soderbergh are back together for the first time since the former became a star in 2012's surprise hit Magic Mike.
The August release date will keep Logan Lucky from going up against that other heist film, the all-female Ocean's reboot Ocean's Eight, which Soderbergh is executive producing. We'll see if Soderbergh can make magic inside the heist genre once again, this time with no help from George Clooney, Brad Pitt or Matt Damon. Or a major studio.