Paramount is giving a limited run for Martin Scorsese’s Silence on Dec. 23 just in time for awards season with a wide expansion in January, a date that’s still TBD. That’s a similar platform that 20th Century Fox/Regency took with their Oscar-winner The Revenant: going limited at Christmas and wider in January. Questions swirled whether Silence would be ready for this fall, and if it would be bumped for a Cannes Film Festival premiere in the spring, however, as early as a month ago we heard Silence would definitely be a go for this year. The question was when. Not only did Par need to find the right launch date on the calendar, but we heard that Scorsese was trying to whittle down a cut of Silence that’s three hours long. Silence marks Scorsese’s fifth directorial release with Paramount. Since working with the Melrose lot, the director’s back-to-back releases Hugo and The Wolf of Wall Street accumulated 16 Oscar noms with Hugo winning five. Paramount acquired U.S. distribution rights to Silence in July 2014.
It will be the holiday moviegoing season, and despite Rogue One: A Star Wars Story being the behemoth in multiplexes, arthouses will also be filled. When Silence opens on Dec. 23 it will be in competition with Focus Features’ J.A. Bayona film A Monster Calls on Dec. 23. Two days prior Sony Pictures Classics will have Pedro Almodovar’s Julieta and Lionsgate has Peter Berg’s Patriots Day in New York, L.A. and Boston. Among other awards contenders in wide release at that time, there’s Warner Bros./New Line’s Collateral Beauty on Dec. 16 and Paramount’s Fences and Weinstein Co.’s Gold on Christmas Day.
Silence has been one of Scorsese’s dream projects during his career with the director expressing interest in a feature adaptation of the 1966 Shusaku Endo novel since 1991. Set in the 17th century, Silence tells the tales of Portuguese Jesuits who embark on a journey to Japan to find their missing mentor, and spread Christianity while risking their lives. Pic stars Andrew Garfield (Father Rodrigues), Liam Neeson (Father Ferreira), Adam Driver (Father Garrpe), Ciaran Hinds (Father Valignano), Tadanobu Asano (Interpreter), Issey Ogata (Inquisitor Inoue), Yosuke Kubozuka (Kichijiro), and Yoshi Oida (Ichizo). Throughout the years, Scorsese has gotten close to making Silence numerous times, with actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Benicio Del Toro and Gael Garcia Bernal. But the pic has always gotten pushed, and there was even a lawsuit over how long it all took. Scorsese worked closely with Fabrica de Cine’s Gaston Pavlovich on the making of the film, and wrote the screenplay with Gangs of New York‘s Jay Cocks.
IM Global handled foreign sales on the film with lead financing coming from Fabrica de Cine, alongside EP Dale A. Brown of Sharpsword Films. Producers are Randall Emmett, Emma Tillinger Koskoff of Sikelia Productions, Irwin Winkler, Vittorio Cecci Gori, Barbara DeFina and Pavlovich. George Furla is also an EP.