Quentin Tarantino’s ninth (and if his career aspirations are to be believed, penultimate) film has been picking up steam in recent weeks. Sony landed the rights to the project after The Weinstein Company imploded following revelations of sexual harassment and assault by co-founder Harvey Weinstein. The film takes place in the summer 1969 in Los Angeles and follows “a male TV actor who’s had one hit series and is looking for a way to get into the film business. His sidekick—who’s also his stunt double—is looking for the same thing.” The story takes place against the backdrop of the Manson Family Murders.
Variety now reports that Sony will release the film on August 9, 2019. That may seem like an innocuous date, but that’s the 50th anniversary of the Tate-LaBianca murders, which is deeply macabre and kind of gross.
The movie’s only competition at that date is Disney’s adaptation of the fantasy book series Artemis Fowl (presumably, Disney didn’t set that date because people had been stabbed to death by a cult fifty years earlier), and that’s not much competition unless you see both movies as family films. Of Tarantino’s previous releases, only one has been released in the summer—Inglourious Basterds, which opened August 21, 2009 and went on to gross $321 million worldwide.
The film is still trying to firm up casting, but its reportedly eyeing Margot Robbie, Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Brad Pitt, and Tarantino being Tarantino, he could probably get three of those actors without a problem. The issue is Cruise who has so far shied away from difficult material in recent years. Even American Made, which is about a drug smuggler caught up in the Iran-Contra affair, is oddly light and comic rather than the stuff that really tests Cruise’s acting ability.
While some may look at the August date and assume that the project may not have the juice to be in awards season, it’s important to remember that films have staying power if they have critical acclaim and box office success. Inglourious Basterds went on to earn eight Oscar nominations and win for Best Supporting Actor for Christoph Waltz. Don’t count out this movie just based on its August release date.