Update, Oct. 21: After moving Chappaquiddick into the Thanksgiving space 16 days ago, Entertainment Studios has had second thoughts and is pushing the John Curran-directed movie to April 6 for awards consideration next year. The independent distributor acquired the Ted Kennedy scandal movie out of TIFF for a $20M commitment.
Instead, Entertainment Studios will debut its other TIFF acquisition, Scott Cooper’s western Hostiles in December and will platform it from there into the aorta of awards season. Essentially, the studio is getting behind Christian Bale as a best actor contender. Bale is a three-time Oscar nominee, and a best supporting actor Oscar winner for 2011’s The Fighter. In Hostiles, Bale plays a notable Army captain who escorts a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous 1892 territory. Rosamund Pike, Ben Foster, Wes Studi, Adam Beach, and Q’orianka Kilcher star.
Jason Clarke plays Ted Kennedy in Chappaquiddick. Moving Clarke out of the best actor race takes him out of competition against Bale, but also against himself: The Australian actor also stars in Netflix’s Mudbound which is also jockeying for awards.
Chappaquiddick leaves behind the following wide openers on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving: Weinstein/Dimension’s Polaroid and Disney/Pixar’s Coco.
Previous, Oct. 5: After locking down John Curran’s Ted Kennedy political scandal pic Chappaquiddick with a $20M commitment at the Toronto International Film Festival, Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios is quickly thrusting the movie into the awards landscape with a Wed. Nov. 22 release date, as we mentioned earlier today with the news of Death Wish jumping to March.
The movie chronicles the tragedy when Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge, ending the life of campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne and his chance at the White House. Nine hours passed from when Kopechne drowned to when Kennedy reported the crash to the police.
Apex Entertainment’s Mark Ciardi and Campbell McInnes produced and financed with DMG’s Dan Mintz and Chris Fenton as executive producers. Chris Cowles is also producing. Script by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan made the 2015 Black List. They are also exec producers.
Jason Clarke plays Kennedy, Kate Mara plays Kopechne, Bruce Dern plays the senator’s domineering father Joseph Kennedy, Ed Helms plays Joe Gargan, Jim Gaffigan plays DA Paul Markham, and Olivia Thirlby plays one of the “boiler room girls,” a group of single women who worked Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 Presidential campaign, which ended with his assassination.
During the Thanksgiving five-day window, Chappaquiddick will face off against such wide entries as Disney/Pixar’s Coco, Weinstein/Dimension’s Polaroid and STX Entertainment’s Molly’s Game.