Alexander Payne’s Downsizing has been tapped to be the opening-night film, in competition, at the upcoming Venice Film Festival. Sources have confirmed the news about the pic, a social satire that stars Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, Alec Baldwin and Neil Patrick Harris.
This year’s Venice fest, runs August 30-September 9 and is part of the key fall festival circuit that includes Telluride and Toronto. Downsizing will bow in U.S. theaters on December 22.
Paramount made Downsizing the focus of its recent presentation for international exhibitors at CineEurope in Barcelona, showing about 20 minutes of the film. Damon and Wiig star in a story about people choosing to shrink down to 5 inches tall in search of a better life. It also got strong response when the studio showed about 10 minutes to U.S. exhibs at CinemaCon.
Paramount picked up Downsizing from Fox in fall 2015 and then slated it to open wide theatrically during the Christmas four-day holiday — a key awards slot. It has had major aspirations for the pic that reteams the studio with Payne, who made Nebraska there.
This will be Payne’s first trip to Venice, which has become a major launchpad for movie award season. La La Land last year, Birdman and Gravity are among previous major Oscar players to have opened at the Italian fest. Oscar Best Picture winner Spotlight also world premiered there though it was not an opening-night film.
Variety was first with the news today.