So, which do you want first?
The good news: Summit has finally set a release date for the Sir Ridley Scott-produced, Daniel Espinosa-directed, Child 44.
The bad news: It won’t be until next year…April 17, 2015 to be exact. While some of us have been looking for a release date at the end of 2014 and so were eagerly awaiting a trailer, the pushed-back date means that that is further off as well.
Child 44, you’ll remember, is based on Tom Robb Smith’s novel of the same name. Set in Stalinist Russia, it’s the tale of Leo Demidov, a senior member of the secret police (Tom Hardy), who is framed for treason by a colleague (Joel Kinnaman) and exiled to a remote outpost, where he unearths a series of mysterious murders and vows to catch the elusive killer, despite powerful members of the government who wish to silence him.
Gary Oldman is Timur Nesterov, and Noomi Rapace is Leo’s wife Raisa. The rest of the cast includes Jason Clarke, Vincent Cassel (who replaced Philip Seymour Hoffman, who pulled out shortly after filming began), Paddy Considine, Dev Patel, Sam Spruell, and Fares Fares.
So what does the release date mean in terms of the film itself? A berth at the end of 2014 would have meant the producers saw awards season potential. Does an April opening mean there is none?
Not necessarily; not any more. April is by no means the box office Siberia of January or February. April has become fertile territory for “adult-themed” drama, particularly of the “independent” variety; a “last hurrah” of sorts before the arrival of the spring/summer blockbusters. April 2014 alone saw the release of Under the Skin, Only Lovers Left Alive, Locke, and Joe, among many others. Last year saw Trance, Upstream Color, The Company You Keep, 42 and Mud. (This last certainly deserved more attention than it got, but was overshadowed by the Best Actor campaign for Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. For my money, his supporting turn in Mud was better – no small accomplishment.)
Add to this the undeniable awards possibilities (as well as box office success) of 2014 MARCH release, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and we have not only some evidence that the game might be changing, but reason to be hopeful about the potential of Child 44. Not only that, but a movie can be deemed good, even great, without being considered “Oscar-bait”. It will also be interesting to see whether or not this makes it to any of the fall film festivals this year.
In any case, our wait to find out just got a little longer. Having read Smith’s book, I’ve been waiting with bated breath since the film was announced. I may turn blue and pass out before next April, but I’ll live. I can’t think of a thing that would prevent me from seeing Child 44, regardless of when it’s released.
Which brings me to more good news and the probable reason for the move to next year: It will have little competition on that date. I don’t see Summit’s mystery-thriller sharing much of an audience with Sony’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Focus Features’ sci-fi body-switching saga, Selfless (with Ryan Reynolds, star of Espinosa’s English-language debut, Safe House, just as Kinnaman is the star of Espinosa’s best known Swedish film,Snabba Cash aka Easy Money. See, we are all connected.) or the Disney documentary, Monkey Kingdom. (The following week, Avengers: Age of Ultron will blow away any and all competition, but then again, Child 44 would also make a good alternative when the former is sold-out.)
Oh, and to end on a high note, I have a couple of stills and production photos from Child 44 to share.
So, what are your thoughts on the subject? Willing to wait until next April or will you have lost interest by then? Did you have any to begin with? Feel free to share in the comments.