Barry Jenkins continues to be a busy man in Hollywood. He officially signed a big television deal with his production company Pastel last week to develop shows for Amazon. He looks to feature heavily in the 91st Oscar race, just two years removed from a Best Picture victory with “Moonlight” in stunning fashion. This year’s adaptation, “If Beale Street Could Talk” became a smash hit at Toronto Film Festival. As it begins to ramp up for the upcoming Oscars, distributor Annapurna Pictures has made a slight shift. Apparently, the rest of the country will need to wait until Christmas to see the film.
According to Showbiz411 and Indiewire, “If Beale Street Could Talk” looks to be on the move. Originally slated for a November 30, 2018 opening, “Beale Street” will shift to a December 14, 2018 release. In the weeks that follow, the film will expand to over a thousand theaters nationwide, just in time for Christmas. This will help the Jenkins film rollout and gain positive word of mouth. It also avoids “Roma,” which Netflix will be pushing into theaters starting in November.
The strategy is a curious one for Annapurna for one big reason: the studio already has two Christmas releases. Both “Vice,” and “Destroyer” are slated for Christmas releases. “Vice” will look to bring in big money, opening wide in its first weekend. Meanwhile, “Destroyer” will only open in Los Angeles and New York. The drastically different stages of release may help all of the films gain an audience. However, “Mary Poppins Returns,” “Bumblebee” and “Aquaman” all have similar release dates. “On the Basis of Sex” also opens on Christmas. It looks to be a very busy theater-going experience this year. Ultimately, the move could help “Beale Street” but as Annapurna struggles, this might not be the wisest choice.