Mike Fleming

BREAKING: In a surprise move that adds another intriguing film to Oscar season, Focus Features has committed to release in a qualifying two city run Promised Land, the Gus Van Sant-directed film that stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski, both of whom wrote the script. The film will be released in exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, December 28th, 2012, prior to an expansion in January. The film, based on a story by Dave Eggers, also stars Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married), Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild), Scoot McNairy (Killing Them Softly), Titus Welliver (The Town), and Oscar winner Frances McDormand. Participant Media co-financed the movie, for which Focus holds worldwide rights.

Damon plays Steve Butler, a corporate salesman who arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (McDormand). With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company’s offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally.

Damon and Krasinski produced the film with Chris Moore, the latter of whom teamed with Damon and Van Sant on Good Will Hunting.