A release date has been set for Alexander Payne‘s next feature film, The Holdovers, which sees the Oscar-winning director re-team with Paul Giamatti with whom he worked on the 2004 Oscar-winning picture Sideways. According to an announcement from Focus Features, The Holdovers will fall into theaters on November 10 firstly as a limited release, followed by a nationwide release on Wednesday, November 22, just in time for Thanksgiving.
Payne has been MIA since the 2017 release of his science-fiction comedy film, Downsizing, starring Matt Damon. However, with The Holdovers, the two-time Oscar winner is looking to stage a grand comeback with his trusted ally Giamatti leading the project. Payne took a liking to the actor following their collaboration on Sideways where Giamatti‘s performance unarguably elevated the overall quality of the film. For it, Payne earned an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, his first-ever Oscar award following a handful of nominations. Payne‘s eagerness to re-team with Giamatti led him to tailor-make a role for the actor, which he will be portraying in The Holdovers.
The Holdovers will see Giamatti as a despicable history teacher at an elite New England prep school. Unloved by both colleagues and students alike, the school authorities chose him as the one to remain on campus to ensure the well-being of students who are unable to go home for the Christmas break. However, it is not like the history teacher has anything better planned for Christmas as his bad people skills spill into his personal life. However, the seeming punishment turns into a win-win situation for all involved as Giamatti‘s character utilizes the opportunity to develop a bond with a certain Angus (Dominic Sessa), a heady but smart student, and with the school’s head cook Mary (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), a grieving Black woman mourning the loss of her son in Vietnam.
Payne‘s inspiration for the film came after he watched a 1930s French film set in a boarding school. His version will be a period piece as well, set in the 1970s. David Hemingson helped develop the screenplay for the film which he will also produce alongside Mark Johnson and Bill Block. Executive producers include Chris Stinson, Tom Williams, Andrew Golov, and Thom Zadra.
Like many other works from Payne, The Holdovers is expected to be a potential awards contender. Setting the film for a Thanksgiving weekend release is a strategic move from Focus Features given that family pictures often get much love during the holiday. Payne‘s last work with Giamatti was a box office success, grossing over $100 million against a modest $16 million budget, and the director will be looking forward to replicating the same with The Holdovers. However, it won’t be an easy feat to achieve as this Thanksgiving window will also see the arrival of major projects like the highly-anticipated Hunger Games prequel, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the third Trolls film from Universal, as well as Disney‘s animated feature, Wish.
The Holdovers will arrive in select theaters on November 10 with a wide release set for November 22.