While the 2021 release calendar is very much up in the air, with big movies still shifting endlessly amongst the uncertainty of the still-very-terrible pandemic, Searchlight today announced the theatrical release dates of several high profile and hugely eagerly titles. Whether or not they’ll make these dates is anybody’s guess, but for now, this is what we’ve got.
First up, on July 16, The Night House is scheduled to debut. Directed by David Bruckner (whose 2017 movie The Ritual is on Netflix and is very awesome) and featuring a cast that includes Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Evan Jonigkeit, Stacy Martin and Vondie Curtis Hall, it “follows a widow (Hall) who begins to uncover her recently deceased husband’s disturbing secrets.” Sounds like it’s going to give us the summer scares (and we are very much here for that).
Next up is The Eyes of Tammy Faye on September 24. Based on the 2000 documentary of the same name, this fictionalized account promises “an intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.” Jessica Chastain stars as Tammy Faye Bakker and Andrew Garfield is Jim Bakker. The narrative feature, directed by The Big Sick’s Michael Showalter, has a starry cast that also includes Cherry Jones, Fredric Lehne, Mark Wystrach, Sam Jaeger, Gabriel Olds and Vincent D’Onofrio. The official synopsis reads: “In the 1970s and 80s, Tammy Faye and her husband, Jim Bakker, rose from humble beginnings to create the world’s largest religious broadcasting network and theme park, and were revered for their message of love, acceptance and prosperity. Tammy Faye was legendary for her indelible eyelashes, her idiosyncratic singing, and her eagerness to embrace people from all walks of life. However, it wasn’t long before financial improprieties, scheming rivals, and scandal toppled their carefully constructed empire.”
After a number of delays and missed release dates, Antlers finally gets a perfect, Halloween-adjacent spot on October 29. The film, directed by Scott Cooper and produced by Guillermo del Toro, stars Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T. Thomas, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Rory Cochrane, and Amy Madigan. The official synopsis for the incredibly creepy-looking movie follows: “In an isolated Oregon town, a middle-school teacher (Russell) and her sheriff brother (Plemons) become embroiled with her enigmatic student (Thomas) whose dark secrets lead to terrifying encounters with a legendary ancestral creature who came before them.”
And del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, one of our most anticipated movies of 2021 arrives on December 3. This is the first movie that del Toro has directed since winning the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars for his 2017 masterpiece The Shape of Water. Based on the 1946 novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham (previously adapted into a 1947 movie starring Tyrone Power), this new version comes equipped with a ridiculously stacked cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, del Toro mainstay Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, and David Strathairn. And as for the plot for Nightmare Alley, well it concerns “an ambitious young carny (Cooper) with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist (Blanchett) who is even more dangerous than he is.” We couldn’t be more pumped if we tried.
Hopefully we’ll all be vaccinated by July so we can start to see all of these wonderful-sounding films. It’s also worth noting that one of Searchlight’s biggest 2021 movies, Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, is so far without a release date. Speculation is that it has to do with a supposed Cannes rollout (it was supposed to debut at this festival in 2020) but those plans are still very much up in the air.