EXCLUSIVE: The release date chess game of the Oscar-bait autumn films continues. After some exuberant test screenings, Fox Searchlight is moving the Steve McQueen-directed Twelve Years A Slave to a limited platform release that will begin October 18. The original plan for the film backed by New Regency and River Road was to start the limited platform release in late December. They felt it could thrive in the fall, instead of waiting for winter. With a cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Brad Pitt, the film is based on the true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom in the pre-Civil War America. Ejoifor plays Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who is abducted and sold into slavery. He faces cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner played by Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindness. In the 12th year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Pitt) forever alters his life. The film also stars Beast Of The Southern Wild‘s Quvenzhané Wallis, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Paul Giamatti, and Lupita Nyong’o. John Ridley adapted Northrup’s memoir. Pitt and his Plan B World War Z cohorts DeDe Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner produced with McQueen, Bill Pohlad, Arnon Milchan, and Anthony Katagas.