Warner Bros. Space Thriller 'Gravity' to Open Venice Film Festival


UPDATED: The film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney and directed by Alfonso Cuaron will have its world premiere at the Italian fest.

ROME – The world premiere of Alfonso Cuaron’s sci-fi thriller Gravity will open the upcoming Venice Film Festival, organizers said Wednesday.

The Warner Bros. production, which stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as astronauts stranded in space after their shuttle is caught in a meteor shower, will screen out of competition on the Lido -- the first time a Cuarón production will come to Venice without appearing in competition. It will screen Aug. 28, following the festival’s opening ceremony.

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The film, which is scheduled to go into wide release worldwide in early October, will bring Clooney -- a Venice regular -- back to the city of canals for the first time since the premiere of Ides of March in 2011.

It will be the first time the 70-year-old Venice festival opens with a 3D film, organizers said.

Cuarón first came to Venice a dozen years ago -- during the first tenure of  Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera, now in the second year of his second mandate in the job -- with Y tu mamá también, which won the Golden Osella award for best screenplay. The film’s stars, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna, also earned the festival’s Marcello Mastroianni honor, the event’s top acting prize.

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In 2006, Cuaron’s dystopian drama Children of Men also screened in competition, winning a secondary prize for best cinematography. Emmanuel Lubezki, who was director of photography on Children of Men, will reprise that role on Gravity.

Additionally, Jonas Cuaron -- Alfonso’s 31-year-old son, who co-wrote Gravity with his father -- came to Venice in 2007 with Ano Una, his directorial debut, which screened in the Critics' Week sidebar.

The Venice event, the world’s oldest film festival, concludes Sept. 7. The festival's full lineup will be unveiled late this month.

Twitter: @EricJLyman