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As the Tom Cruise–Katie Holmes divorce continues to make headlines, The Weinstein Co. has moved up the release of the Scientology-inspired The Master from Oct. 12 to Sept. 14.
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master will open exclusively in New York and Los Angeles before expanding nationwide on Sept. 21. It’s likely that the movie will make a stop at the Toronto Film Festival to boost its theatrical launch (the festival gets underway Sept. 6).
The Master stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a charistmatic intellectual who founds a religious organization following World War II, much as Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard did. Joaquin Phoenix plays the leader’s right-hand man who eventually begins to question his mentor. Amy Adams also stars.
Harvey Weinstein is a master at generating publicity for his films, and the current focus on Cruise’s close connection to Scientology could create additional interest in Anderson’s film.
Weinstein isn’t talking about the Scientology connection, however.
“Paul says to me the movie is about a journey for soldiers after World War II – my own dad was one of those guys – and, you know, one of the things that happens to this soldier is he goes to a cult,” Weinstein said earlier this week in an interview with The Huffington Post said.
“Look, I mean, whatever, people are going to draw their own conclusions, and right now there are heated conclusions, and the Tom [Cruise] and Katie [Holmes] situation has exacerbated that. It’s going to be a controversial movie. But it’s a tour de force. I hope what doesn’t get lost is how wonderful the filmmaking is,” Weinstein continued.
To accommodate the shift of The Master, the Weinstein Co. is moving Brad Pitt crime drama Killing Them Softly from Sept. 21 to Oct. 19. Directed by Andrew Dominik, the film is based on the 1974 novel Cogan’s Trade by George V. Higgins.
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