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The Weinstein Co. has big plans for Stephen Frears‘ Philomena, starring Judi Dench.
On Monday, Harvey Weinstein‘s company said it will open the British adult dramedy in New York and Los Angeles on Nov. 22 before making a moderate nationwide push and expanding the awards contender into more than 500 theaters Nov. 27, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Moviegoing spikes over the long holiday weekend, and TWC believes Philomena will serve as potent counterprogramming to more commercial fare.
That includes goliath The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Vince Vaughn comedy Delivery Man, both of which open nationwide Nov. 22. No fewer than four films open everywhere Nov. 27; Disney’s animated entry Frozen, Fox Searchlight’s musical Black Nativity, Open Road Films’ action-thriller Homefront and FilmDistrict’s thriller Oldboy.
Philomena isn’t the only TWC title taking advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday. On Nov. 29, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will begin its platform rollout, opening in New York and Los Angeles.
Frears’ film stars Steve Coogan as a journalist who chronicles a woman’s search for her son that she was forced to give up for adoption decades earlier. Together, the the writer and woman (Dench) travel to the U.S.
Philomena made its world premiere in competition at the recent Venice International Film Festival, where Coogan and Jeff Pope won the award for best screenplay. The film next made its North American debut at the Toronto Film Festival.
Putting the finishing touches on its awards season plans, TWC also has decided to open British comedy One Chance in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 27. Directed by David Frankel, the movie tells the story of Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts.
TWC also officially has moved Nicole Kidman starrer Grace of Monaco into 2014, meaning it won’t be a player in this year’s awards race. The biopic of Grace Kelly, considered a possible awards contender for Kidman’s performance, will open March 14.
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Jon M. Chu