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Damien Chazelle’s upcoming Babylon will now open everywhere Dec. 23, Paramount announced Tuesday.
The film — with a star-packed cast that includes Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt — was previously set to only open in select theaters Dec. 25 before expanding nationwide on Jan. 6.
Paramount’s decision came a day after Sony delayed A Man Called Otto from Christmas to January 2023. Babylon hopes to serve as counterprogramming to Avatar: The Way of Water, which opens wide Dec. 16. Other Christmas wide offerings include the animated family film Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, which hits the big screen Dec. 21 alongside Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody.
Set in late 1920s Hollywood during the movie industry’s transition from silent films to talkies, Babylon explores the rise and fall of multiple characters and has been described as “The Great Gatsby on steroids.”
The cast also includes Jovan Adepo, Diego Calva, Flea, Jean Smart, Olivia Wilde and Samara Weaving.
“Babylon is the biggest number of roles I have juggled by far. The casting process took a long, long time. It’s a mostly fictional film where almost all of the characters are inspired by composites of real-life people,” Chazelle said last month at the Toronto Film Festival.
The Christmas box office has historically supported multiple titles, even when a mega-tentpole is on the marquee, such as Avatar 2.
Babylon has awards ambitions and hopes to enjoy a box office bump from nominations. It remains to be seen whether Pitt curtails publicity, whether for the film itself or the awards campaign, because of new allegations about a domestic incident that took place on a plane in 2016 when he was traveling with then-spouse Angelina Jolie and their children.
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