It’s been four years since Ben Affleck‘s Best Picture-winning Argo landed in theaters, and if you’ve been eagerly awaiting his directorial follow-up, good news, the wait just got a lot shorter. The prohibition era crime thriller Live by Night was originally slated for a prime, awards-friendly October 20, 2017 release date, but Warner Bros. has bumped the film up nine months to January 13th, 2017.
It’s an interesting move considering the original release date screamed awards contention, mirroring that of Argo, which landed in theaters on October 12, 2012, and leaving room for fall festival debuts and a significant campaign period. However, it’s still possible that Warner Bros. will position Live by Night as awards player by giving it a limited release in December of 2016. As we saw last year with The Revenant, arriving super late in the year does nothing to hinder a film’s buzz factor come Oscar time.
Affleck wrote, produced, directed and stars in the adaptation of Dennis Lehane‘s 2012 crime novel of the same name.The film also stars Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning, and Brendan Gleeson and follows the rise of one man from petty thief to the Gulf Coast’s most successful rum runner in 1920s Boston.
Affleck proved himself a great fit for Lehane’s material with his Oscar-nominated feature film debut, Gone Baby Gone and initially planned to begin production on Live by Night in 2013, but pushed the project back when he got the opportunity to work with David Fincher on Gone Girl. The came a little role called Batman, and Affleck had to push the project back once again to make time for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Affleck finally managed to squeeze into production late last year before rolling into Justice League: Part One, which is currently filming. Basically, he’s a very busy dude and at the moment almost exclusively busy with Warner Bros. work, so if the studio opted to juggle his schedule
Basically, he’s a very busy dude and at the moment almost exclusively busy with Warner Bros. work, so if the studio opted to juggle his schedule around, it’s most likely out of a shared interest in best organizing his time. If they are looking to push the film for the awards trail (and it seems unlikely they wouldn’t given the film’s original prime placement on the slate), it’s possible they want to put the film in contention for the 2017 race so Affleck will have time for things like Batman, Batman and Batman. After all, between filming there will still be promotional campaigns for Justice League and Live by Night, and Justice League: Part Two is still on the docket along with the solo Batman film he’s slated to direct.
Elsewhere, Warner Bros. also shuffled up the release dates for a number of other films, delaying The Lego Movie Sequel from May 18, 2018 to February 8, 2019, bumping back Dean Devlin‘s Gerard Butler-led sci-fi Geostorm to Oct. 20, 2017, to be released in 3D and Imax, and shifting the Owen Wilson and Ed Helms led Bastards from November 2016 to Jan. 27, 2017.