After a slew of major premieres were announced for both the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival last month, critics and media have been wondering what high profile release was left for the coveted opening night of the New York Film Festival.  Additionally, as its the 50th edition of NYFF, the Film Society of Lincoln Center would not want a second rate picture opening the celebrated festival.  Happily, 20th Century Fox and Ang Lee have come to the rescue.

The Film Society announced today that Lee's adaptation of Yann Martel's popular novel "Life of Pi" will open the festival on Sept. 28.  The Fox release is currently scheduled to open nationwide on Nov. 21.

In a release from the Film Society, Richard Peña, Selection Committee Chair & Program Director noted, “'Life of Pi' is a perfect combination of technological innovation and a strong artistic vision. Ang Lee has managed to make a deeply moving, engrossing work that will delight audiences as much as it will astonish them. We're enormously proud to have this film for our Opening Night for the 50th NYFF."

Lee now becomes only the fourth filmmaker after Robert Altman, Pedro Almodóvar and François Truffaut to have two films open the festival. Previously, Lee's classics "The Ice Storm" opened the festival in 1997 and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" closed the festival in 2000.

The early screening of "Pi" means that only Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" and Tom Hooper's adaptation of "Les Miserables" will be the only major awards contenders not to screen by the end of Sept. With a Nov. 16 release date, it's still possible "Lincoln" will screen later on during the New York Film Festival.