The film that electrified the Sundance Film Festival last month is headed to theaters in the fall. Fox Searchlight has slotted The Birth of a Nation for October 7, an awards-season sweet spot for the drama that swept the Jury and Audience awards in Park City after its January 25 premiere. Searchlight paid a festival-record $17.5M for its rights the next day.
Nate Parker wrote, directed and stars in the film as Nat Turner, a literate slave who leads a liberation movement in 1831 to free African Americans in Virginia, which results in a violent retaliation from whites. Armie Hammer plays Turner’s financially strained owner, who accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue the slaves. Birth of a Nation also stars Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, Mark Boone Jr., Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Dwight Henry, Aja Naomi King, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith, Jayson Warner Smith and Gabrielle Union.
Searchlight is giving the film a national release but didn’t give specifics about its rollout. Four wide openers are set for the October 7 frame: Warner Bros’ Ben Affleck drama The Accountant, Fox’s X-Men spinoff Gambit, Universal’s Emily Blunt drama The Girl on the Train and Lionsgate’s comedy Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life.