Today Focus Features shifted some of their release dates for their prestige films. It appears that the move is to put the films in a better position to contend for the Oscars in 2019. According to their Twitter account, Focus has shifted “Boy Erased” and “On the Basis of Sex” to later in the year.
First up, “Boy Erased” has moved from September 28th to a November 2nd release date. Assuming the film was on pace to open for a September release date, this will allow the film to get more traction on the festival circuit, while not dropping too early. Films like “Battle of the Sexes” have presented prestige options in late September, only to be forgotten by the Thanksgiving break. Assuming the quality is there, this move helps “Boy Erased” escape that fate.
Joel Edgerton wrote, directs, and produces “Boy Erased.” The story follows a 19-year old boy (Lucas Hedges) who is outed as LGBT by his conservative and religious parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe). They give their son a choice: attend conversation therapy, or face exile from the family.
“On the Basis of Sex“
By shifting “Boy Erased,” Focus had to move its other release “On the Basis of Sex” to a December 25th limited release date. This move also gives us insight into how Focus is perceiving “On the Basis of Sex” as a contender. It’s still very likely that Felicity Jones is a contender as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Having her film debut late in the year may build excitement at the perfect time to give her a chance to win. In the past two years, 3 of our 8 winners starred in films with December releases. This doesn’t mean we won’t see “On the Basis of Sex” at festivals and could also signify the film has a chance to be commercially successful as well. The film’s release also lines up with the 25th anniversary of Ginsberg’s appointment to the Supreme Court.
“On the Basis of Sex” stars Felicity Jones as the famed RBG before her days as a Supreme Court Justice. The film also features Armie Hammer as Marty Ginsberg. Mimi Leder directs the film, with a deep ensemble cast that includes Justin Theroux, Kathy Bates, Sam Waterston, Jack Reynor, and Cailee Spaeny.
Both films look like promising contenders, and it appears Focus is setting up their lineup for maximum success. Time will tell if the two prestige pictures get the attention they deserve. Until then, the Awards friendly release dates signal they may have two hits on their hands.