Weinstein Co. has just announced that its McDonald’s origins story The Founder starring Michael Keaton is moving from its Thanksgiving week release date of Nov. 25 to Aug. 5. Meanwhile, Lion starring Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel is taking over Founder‘s Nov. 25 date. That Friday after Thanksgiving is historically a hot spot for TWC when it comes to platforming its awards season fare. That November date is where Carol, The Imitation Game and The King’s Speech launched in recent years. Mara recently landed her second Oscar nomination and won best actress at the Cannes Film Festival for TWC’s Carol.
Said Harvey Weinstein, “We are very excited for The Founder and Lion coming out this season. I am determined to show that adult fare and award-caliber movies should be able to open any time of year and be successful. Last season we saw a crowded fall where some terrific films struggled to find an audience. This year I want to spread out our slate and give them the best opportunity to succeed. The Founder is brilliant and one of the most controversial films I have had the pleasure to be associated. The story of Ray Kroc should ignite adult audiences this summer and send the incredible team of John Lee Hancock and Michael Keaton back to the Dolby Theater. The touching and beautiful family story of Lion has tremendous performances by Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara and will work really well during the holiday season.”
Test screenings for Founder directed by John Lee Hancock have been positive, proving to be a wide release for adults during the late summer. On that August date, Founder will cater to those sidestepping Warner Bros. fanboy must-see Suicide Squad. Keaton stars as Illinois salesman Ray Kroc who turned McDonald’s drive-through business into a national franchise, pushing the original owners, Mac and Dick McDonald, completely out of the business. Laura Dern, Linda Cardellini, Patrick Wilson, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch and B.J. Novak also star.
Word is that Lion is truly an emotional movie. Currently there aren’t any limited releases from the studio classic divisions on Black Friday that can get in Lion’s way. Adapted from the non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley, Garth Davis’ film follows a five-year-old Indian boy who, after a wrong train takes him thousands of miles from home and family, survives many challenges before being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, armed with only the scantest of clues, he learns of a new technology called Google Earth, and sets out to find his lost family.