Universal has dated Amblin’s Sam Mendes’ World War I movie 1917 for a limited release on Wednesday, December 25 next year, followed by a wide break on January 10, 2020.

Amblin Partners

Deadline exclusively reported that Amblin Partners won the pitched spec package to finance 1917 in a battle with New Regency, Paramount and Sony. The plot is being kept under wraps. The film will begin production next April. Mendes wrote the original script with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, and will direct and produce the film, while Pippa Harris—Mendes’ partner at Neal Street Productions—will also produce along with Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougall.  George McKay (Captain Fantastic) and Dean-Charles Chapman (Game of Thrones) are set to star.

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

1917 reps Mendes first time back in the film director’s chair since 2015’s Spectre. Mendes’ relationship with Amblin boss Steven Spielberg goes back to DreamWorks, which launched the British theater director with the 1999 drama American Beauty which scored five Oscar wins including Best Picture and director for Mendes. DreamWorks was also behind Mendes’ period gangster drama Road to Perdition and Revolutionary Road. 

Next year on Christmas, Fox is going wide with its Chris Sanders take on Jack London’s Call of the Wild, Sony has Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, and Warner Bros has the Melissa McCarthy comedy Superintelligence. On January 10, 1917 will be up against such wide entries as Sony’s untitled Phil Lord and Christoper Miller animated movie.