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'Foxcatcher' Jumps to Sony Pictures Classics; Release Date Set (Exclusive)

Director Bennett Miller previously helmed two features -- "Capote" and "Moneyball" -- both of which scored best picture Oscar noms.

Bennett Miller Horizontal - H 2013
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Bennett Miller

Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher, one of the most highly anticipated films of the coming awards season, will be released by Sony Pictures Classics -- not Sony's Columbia Pictures, as had initially been announced last year, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

SPC has set a release date of Dec. 20, a prime perch for an awards run.

The film -- which recounts the true story of an Olympic wrestling champion (Channing Tatum) whose brother (Mark Ruffalo), a fellow Olympian, was murdered by a paranoid schizophrenic millionaire (Steve Carell) -- was co-financed by Columbia and Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures, with the expectation that Columbia would also distribute it.

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 Miller has directed only two previous features, but each was nominated for the best picture Oscar, among numerous others: Sony Classics distributed Capote (2005), and Columbia distributed Moneyball (2011).

But this was not to be, reportedly because the 46-year-old filmmaker felt that the film would be a better fit at Sony Classics. "I've been discussing Foxcatcher with Michael [Barker] and Tom [Bernard] since I began researching the story in 2005," Miller says, "and it's always been my hope and expectation that they would distribute the film. Their passion and understanding of what Foxcatcher could be and their ability to market unique and complex films makes SPC the ideal home for me. They were great partners on Capote, and I'm thrilled to be back with SPC."

Foxcatcher joins a crowded Sony Classics awards slate that also includes Richard Linklater's Before Midnight (May 24), Pedro Almodovar's I'm So Excited! (June 28), Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine (July 26), John Krokidas' Kill Your Darlings (Oct. 18), Asghar Farhadi's The Past (Dec. 20) and Ralph Fiennes' The Invisible Woman (TBD).

Columbia, meanwhile, still has a heavyweight awards slate of its own: David O. Russell's American Hustle (Dec. 13), Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips (Oct. 11) and George Clooney's The Monuments Men (Dec. 18).