At Paramount’s CinemaCon panel tonight, the studio announced that Stephen Frears’ Meryl Streep-Hugh Grant period piece Florence Foster Jenkins will open on Aug. 12. As a result, MGM co-production Ben-Hur, which was previously set for that date, moves to Aug. 19. That’s good for Par since Aug. 12 is crowded with Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, Sony’s Sausage Party and Universal’s Spectral. Florence serves as older adult counter-programming for that frame.
On its new later-August date, Ben-Hur — a big play for the faith-based audience — goes up against Warner Bros.’ Todd Phillips comedy War Dogs and Focus Features’ Kubo and the Two Strings.
Paramount bought Florence Foster Jenkins out of the Toronto International Film Festival last year. It was one of the most coveted titles despite the fact that it wasn’t actually playing in the festival.
The film is the true story of Foster Jenkins (Streep), a New York heiress and socialite who pursued her dream of becoming an opera singer. The voice she heard in her head was beautiful, but to everyone else it was hilariously awful. Her “husband” and manager, St. Clair Bayfield (Grant), an aristocratic English actor, was determined to protect his beloved Florence from the truth. When Florence decided to give a concert at Carnegie Hall in 1944, St. Clair faced his greatest challenge.
Also at CinemaCon, Paramount made official what Deadline exclusively broke in January: The studio is making Denzel Washington’s directorial Fences, with Tony Kushner’s screenplay based on August Wilson’s play and starring Viola Davis.
Robert Zemeckis’ World War II spy movie starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, which has been residing on Nov. 23 is now known as Allied. At Paramount it had been known as the untitled Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard film, though some reports had it as Five Seconds of Silence.
Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher 2 is now titled Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. It is still slated for Oct. 21, 2016.
Pete Hammond will have his full report on the Melrose Ave. studio developments later tonight.