John Hillcoat’s Prohibition-era drama The Wettest County has been pushed back from April 20th to August 31st. Nick Cave (The Proposition) wrote the script based Matt Bondourant‘s novel about two brothers (played by Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy) who become bootleggers in the South during Prohibition. In addition to LaBeouf and Hardy, the outstanding cast also includes Mia Wasikowska, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Dane DeHaan, and Jessica Chastain.
With this cast and this premise, it seemed odd that the Weinstein Company would schedule it to April 20th, but the August 31st date doesn’t make much sense either. Hit the jump for positives and negatives of the new date.
April 20th seemed an odd time to schedule the flick but we simply assumed that while the film may be good, it wasn’t a movie that would appeal to Academy voters. However, the August 31st date is troublesome because Labor Day weekend is one of the slowest box office weekends of the year. Audiences are worn out on summer fare and they’re not yet willing to leap into fall film-going. The Help was an exception, and you have to keep in mind that it was based off a ridiculously popular book.
However, there could be an upside to the new release date. The Venice Film Festival is also on August 29th so it’s possible The Weinstein Company want to set the release alongside a major festival (a la Contagion). There’s also the benefit of putting it after The Dark Knight Rises, so journalists can potentially ask Oldman and Hardy about Hillcoat’s movie.
Or TWC could just be burying it like they did with Hillcoat’s previous movie, The Road (although I’m not sure the best time to release a movie that redefined the word “bleak”).
Right now The Wettest County‘s only competition is the thriller 7500 starring Leslie Bibb and Ryan Kwanten, and the horror flick The Possession starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick. Based on star power alone, The Wettest County has the edge to win the weekend, but how much will it make? [Box Office Mojo]