Sony Pictures has jerked David Ayer's World War II drama "Fury," starring Brad Pitt, from an original Nov. 14 release date to Oct. 17. That's a date currently occupied by the limited bow of Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman," which shares a producer with "Fury" in John Lesher, but it puts the film right in the mid-month corridor that has worked out for awards season players like "Argo," "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" in recent years.
The question, though, is whether we might see it pop up in a festival context. This new date takes AFI Fest off the table (which would have been more of a big LA premiere just ahead of the earlier date than anything else), and I'm told Telluride and Toronto were never in the cards. A recent New York Times story eschewed any movie stardom angle and set up some of the complexities of the film, but with a star like Pitt center stage, the studio would probably like it to come out full force and aim for box office rather than scattering throughout the festival circuit and building it up as anything more nuanced than "a Brad Pitt war movie."
Still, if Sony would like to hit the New York fest as a secret screening, that option is available. Nevertheless, at this point I'd expect it to just land in the marketplace and look to build commercial steam ahead of the awards push. And this new release date gives it that added potential, as before it was stuck between heavies "Interstellar" and "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1."
I've talked to a handful of people who have seen the film and it certainly seems like it could arrive as a very different addition to the well-worn genre. Logan Lerman is the name mentioned across the board as a standout performance. His innocence opposite Pitt's tough-guy leader throughout makes for an interesting dynamic, I'm told, and both could end up in the Oscar mix at the end of the day.
Sony's recent string of awards successes has included "American Hustle," "Captain Phillips," "Zero Dark Thirty," "Moneyball" (also with Pitt) and "The Social Network."