‘Nine Days’ With Winston Duke Delays Release, Still Qualifies for Spirit Awards (EXCLUSIVE)

Originally set for Jan. 22, the film will be now be released by Sony Pictures Classics worldwide in summer 2021.

Winston Duke and Zazie Beetz appear in Nine Days by Edson Oda, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Wyatt Garfield.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.
Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Sony Pictures Classics has delayed the release of “Nine Days,” the Sundance hit from first-time director Edson Oda starring Winston Duke. It will no longer release on Jan. 22 and is now slated to open in theaters worldwide next summer. However, the film will still qualify for the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards, set for April 24.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still handicapping movie theaters, an intimate film like “Nine Days” benefits most from a big theatrical experience with its immersive sound and stunning camera work. One of the dark horse awards contenders for the upcoming season, with best actor (Duke) and original screenplay (Oda) being its best possibilities.

Moving to the summer could give the film a better chance to be discovered by audiences. By starting in New York and Los Angeles and then expanding to more markets, the film could be a financial success with its all-star cast. With similar themes to Pixar’s “Soul” this year and the exodus from theatrical releases to streaming, this is a smart move that gives the film a fighting chance for accolades. This also follows the same rollout executed for Chloé Zhao’s sophomore film, “The Rider.”

“‘Nine Days’ is an important movie that was always meant to be seen on the big screen first, so (we decided) to move the date back to a time when we hope more theaters are open safely and people are more comfortable returning to theaters,” Sony Pictures Classics said in a statement.

“‘Nine Days’ is about celebrating life and human connection,” Oda also said in a statement. “I’m thrilled that audiences will also be able to have that experience in the movie theater next summer.”

With its eligibility for the Independent Spirit Awards, the film could get a boost, with an excellent chance of being nominated in categories like best actor, first screenplay, first feature and cinematography (Wyatt Garfield). Last year, Michael Angelo Covino’s “The Climb,” also an SPC film, was nominated for first-time feature and will be in contention for this year’s awards.

Starring Duke, Zazie Beetz, Tony Hale, Bill Skarsgård and Benedict Wong, the film tells the story of Will, a reclusive man who is conducting a series of interviews with human souls for a chance to be born.

The film is produced by Jason Michael Berman, Mette-Marie Kongsved, Matthew Linder, Laura Tunstall and Datari Turner. Academy Award winner Spike Jonze (“Her”) is an executive producer.