Paramount has shifted the release date of Ben-Hur, the remake it’s doing with MGM that stars Jack Huston. Previously scheduled for February 26, 2016, the Timur Bekmambetov-helmed pic has now moved to a late-summer slot: August 12, 2016.
Also today, the studio confirmed what we told you when it acquired the stop-motion pic Anomalisa co-directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson. That pic is getting a December 30 release date, which officially qualifies it for Oscar consideration after it became a buzzed title in its fall festival run.
The Ben-Hur shift is curious: It now drives it chariot to a slot already occupied by wide openers Pete’s Dragon at Disney, Sony’s Seth Rogen-Jonah Hill comedy Sausage Party, Universal’s Spectral and Lionsgate’s The Shack, the latter a faith-based pic based on the bestselling novel. But that is the week this year where Straight Outta Compton launched. In addition, Paramount has had great play in August with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So, it’s a prime time for the studio to launch a tentpole. The summer Olympics next year also provides an ideal platform for Par to promo Ben-Hur. Mid-August has proven to be the last gasp in the summer before weekend receipts drop off into the Labor Day holiday frame.
Paramount acquired Anomalisa for its Oscar slate for $5 million. It won a Grand Jury Prize in Venice.