It’s been speculated for sometime, but only now confirmed. Ben Affleck‘s upcoming period-set gangster film Live By Night – written, directed and starring the 2-time Oscar winner – is now officially a 2016 film. Warner Bros. has given Live By Night a Christmas Day release date, thus qualifying the film for awards consideration. The movie will open in select theaters before opening wide on January 13th; originally the studio had only confirmed a January launch. The decision to move up comes following early cuts of the movie were screened for studio executives, reportedly.
The Prohibition Era features centers around Joe Coughlin (Affleck), the son of treasured Boston police captain who swings to the other end of the law, becoming an infamous mob ruler. The ensemble cast for the film includes Elle Fanning (The Neon Demon), Zoe Saldana (Avatar), Scott Eastwood (Suicide Squad), Sienna Miller (American Sniper), Brendan Gleeson (Suffragette), Chris Messina (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) and Oscar winner Chris Cooper (Demolition). The Affleck-penned script is an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s crime novel; Affleck previously adapted Lehane’s Gone Baby Gone, his directorial debut.
While Affleck and Warner Bros. have formed a strong relationship with one another throughout the years – including the Oscar winning Argo as well as Affleck’s current charge of DC Comics-related pictures – Christmas Day will be fiercely competitive, not just for moviegoers but for a potential awards run. Live By Night opens against a crowded film that includes Denzel Washington’s Fences, Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women, Gold starring Matthew McConaughey as well as Cannes favorite (and German foreign-language film entry) Toni Erdmann.
Affleck will next appear in the Warner Bros. thriller The Accountant (in theaters on October 14th); Live by Night hits screens on Christmas Day.