×

Early-Year Releases Wrestle Oscar Attention Away From Festival Circuit

As the Venice-Telluride-Toronto film festival corridor begins to churn out something resembling an Oscar season beat sheet, a handful of earlier 2017 releases are speaking up, lest they be lost in the fall prestige clutter.

Wednesday night, 20th Century Fox will hold a screening of James Mangold’s “Logan” — on the Warner Bros. lot, oddly enough — with Mangold and star Hugh Jackman on hand for a Q&A. The film hit theaters less than a week after last February’s Oscars ceremony and went on to rack up over $616 million in global box office receipts. It also remains one of the year’s most critically acclaimed films.

Chief on the list of possibilities for the film is Patrick Stewart’s supporting performance, saddling up to the role of Professor Charles Xavier for the seventh time (nearly as many times as Jackman has tackled Wolverine). But this is his most emotional rendering of the character yet, and it comes in a film that hasn’t been dismissed as a genre trifle, but rather, one with hard-bitten western DNA that could appeal more than other films in the “X-Men” series have.

Prior to scheduling that event, the gears at Fox were already turning for another of the studio’s genre entries, “War for the Planet of the Apes.” Producer Peter Chernin even hopped on the phone with awards press to discuss plans to keep Matt Reeves’ film in the industry’s eye. “War” hasn’t connected at the box office as much as the studio would have hoped, but it remains one of the year’s best, and you can expect a push for recognition — even of the special achievement sort — for what Andy Serkis and company have accomplished in the performance-capture realm throughout the series.

Finally, a number of journalists were quick to mention on Twitter that they had received the first “awards screener” of the year in the form of Universal’s “Get Out” Blu-ray mailer. In reality, Jordan Peele’s satire — which grossed over $252 million worldwide — was meant to ship months ago timed to the DVD’s street date, but it fell through the cracks for boring reasons that aren’t worth mentioning here. The discs went to members of the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. and Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. this week. Universal is actually keen on getting a jump on things overall, however, as the film is viewed as a serious contender for the studio.

We’ll have to wait a few weeks before we’ll know what the true “first awards screener” of the year will be, i.e. discs that land on actual Academy members’ doorsteps (or inboxes). But in the meantime, these campaigns are doing what they can to stay out ahead of what is sure to be another noisy season. We’ll see how much of a grip they can maintain throughout.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Samuel-W.-Gelfman

    Samuel Gelfman, Roger Corman Film Producer, Dies at 88

    Samuel Gelfman, a New York producer known for his work on Roger Corman’s “Caged Heat,” “Cockfighter” and “Cannonball!,” died Thursday morning at UCLA Hospital in Westwood following complications from heart and respiratory disease, his son Peter Gelfman confirmed. He was 88. Gelfman was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised in Caldwell New Jersey [...]

  • Margot Robbie stars in ONCE UPON

    Box Office: 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Pulls Ahead of 'Hobbs & Shaw' Overseas

    Sony’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” might not have hit No. 1 in North America, but Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is leading the way at the international box office, where it collected $53.7 million from 46 markets. That marks the best foreign opening of Tarantino’s career, coming in ahead of 2012’s “Django Unchained.” “Once [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Leads Crowded Weekend With $21 Million

    The Bean Bag Boys, the self-appointed nickname for the trio of best friends in Universal’s “Good Boys,” are conquering much more than sixth grade. They are also leading the domestic box office, exceeding expectations and collecting $21 million on opening weekend. “Good Boys,” which screened at 3,204 North American theaters, is a much-needed win for [...]

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content