It’s not easy being The Weinstein Company. Harvey Weinstein’s Oscar factory has so many contenders on its calendar each year that it’s hard to find enough room for all the films. Consider 2012, which saw The Weinstein Company release future Oscar nominees like “The Master,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Django Unchained.” There’s a similar logjam lined up for this year, which is why it’s not all that surprising to read that TWC moved Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” from its Oct. 18 date to Aug. 16. That shift pushes “The Butler” away from a trio of high-profile releases for the studio: “August: Osage County” (Nov. 8), “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” (Nov. 29) and “Grace of Monaco” (Dec. 27). Toss in the currently undated “The Immigrant” with Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard in leading roles, and that’s a lot of year-end firepower. “The Butler,” on Oct. 18, quite possibly would have been lost in that shuffle; on Aug. 16, it could become a box office hit like “The Help.”
That said, maybe moving “The Butler” to Aug. 16 wasn’t such a good idea, at least as far as awards are concerned. To wit: TWC has Sundance favorite “Fruitvale Station” coming out on July 26, a mere three weeks before “The Butler.” Won’t that proximity threaten both films when all is said and done?
Well, probably not. It bears watching, though, to see whether TWC will move “Fruitvale Station” as well.
UPDATE: TWC moved the limited release of “Fruitvale Station” up to July 12.