'Anger' delays release due to awards logjam

LONDON — “Factory Girl” has secured the U.K. distribution deal necessary to enter the race for this year’s British Academy Film Awards, but “The Upside of Anger” has dropped out of the running.

The Weinstein Co. has sealed a last-minute pact for Paramount to release “Factory Girl” in Blighty on Feb. 9, the last date to qualify for the 2006 BAFTAs.

Under new rules, pics must be released before the Feb. 11 kudos ceremony.

The Weinstein Co. is so optimistic about the chances of the pic’s British star, Sienna Miller, that it took the unusual step of guaranteeing a release to BAFTA officials two weeks ago, before it secured a U.K. distribution deal.

In the end, TWC put the movie through its eight-film deal with Par’s U.K. arm, announced last October.

“Factory Girl,” which charts the rise and fall of ’60s icon Edie Sedgwick, will face stiff competition in the U.K. from kudos contenders set for release in the same period, including Par’s own “Dreamgirls,” which comes out Feb. 2.

Indeed, the strength of that competition is the reason why the Works U.K. Distribution has moved the release date of “The Upside of Anger” from Jan. 28 to Feb. 16, ruling it out of BAFTA contention.

A spokesman for the Works said it was unable to book screens for the film because of so much competition from other awards contenders.

Par’s U.K. distribution and marketing team, which has yet to see “Factory Girl,” faces a big challenge to secure screens and build awareness for the movie over the next month.

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