This past month brought a chorus of raves for Damien Chazelle’s upcoming contemporary LA-based musical La La Land, which stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Today came word that Lionsgate, the film’s distributor, is slightly adjusting the release date for the expected awards contender. Previously, it was announced the film would open in limited release on December 2nd, now the film will go out limited a week later on December 9th. The wide release for the film remains the same, set for December 16th.
The reasoning for the shift may come as that first week of December, following the Thanksgiving holiday weekend including Black Friday, is typically comes with a slow down at the box office. However, there’s drawbacks as well as those December slots are often quite aggressive on terms of holiday releases. For instance, La La Land opens in limited engagements directly opposite a pair of acclaimed Pablo Larrain films – Jackie starring Natalie Portman (who is garnering awards talk for her portrayal of Jackie Kennedy) and Neruda. La La Land will also vie against Will Smith’s Collateral Beauty and the gargantuan Rogue One: A Star Wars Story when opening wide on December 19th. The expected fight for theater screens and attention will, as always, likely be fierce the final weeks of the year.
La La Land may have an advantage as the film burst out of the fall festivals as the buzziest of them all, collecting the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival (typically a nice Oscar bellwether) as well as a Best Actress prize for Emma Stone at the Venice Film Festival, where the film made its world premiere at the opening night gala. Chazelle’s musical is a modern love story between an aspiring musician (Gosling) and actress (Stone). The pair previously played lovers before in the romantic comedy Crazy Stupid Love and the mobster thriller Gangster Squad.
La La Land will land in theaters on December 16th nationwide, with limited engagements beginning on December 9th.