The specialty film community was surprised today that, with only 8 days to go until release, Rentrak sent out a date change announcement that The Weinstein Co was moving John Wells’s The Company Men off December 10th and onto January 21st. Especially because the film Wells wrote and directed had been well-received at Sundance and mentioned for the Oscar race even if it was ignored this week by both the Indie Spirit Awards and the National Board Of Review. So here’s what I’ve confirmed: that The Weinstein Co still plans an Oscar qualifying run for one week in NYC’s AMC Lincoln Square and LA’s AMC Century City theaters. The premiere is this Wednesday at The Paris in NYC complete with after-party. But it won’t go wider the rest of the month as planned. “They feel December has gotten too crowded with True Grit, The Fighter, Black Swan, and King’s Speech [opening or expanding] all in the next few weeks and targeted for the same audience,” an insider explains to me. The King’s Speech, of course, is The Weinstein Co’s major push for awards this season.
The Company Men is the feature directing debut of John Wells, who not only wrote and produced, but gambled some of his E.R. money to finance the film as well. The Weinstein Company, which acquired the drama after its Sundance Film Festival debut, has just released a trailer that makes me feel like I do when I walk through a store in early summer and see the shelves lined with back-to-school supplies: the escapist summer season will soon give way to autumn message movies. When the film first played at Sundance, some buyers felt it had an episodic TV vibe, understandable given Wells’ background. I’ve heard that he has been working steadily to hone the film, which bows October 22.