Deadline is reporting that Ben Affleck’s next directorial effort, Live By Night, is being pushed up from a January 13 release to enjoy a limited opening on Christmas Day. The move signals confidence on the part of Warner Bros. that their latest Affleck collaboration has some Oscar juice (or more cynically that the upcoming bumper crop of holiday prestige films is vulnerable to market disruption). The notion that Affleck could nab some hardware in February is probably based on the fact he’s done it before with Argo’s Best Picture win in 2013.
The other Christmas Day films also positioning for maximum Academy Awards visibility include the Mark Wahlberg’s Boston Marathon bombing docudrama Patriots Day, Denzel Washington’s Fences, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt’s interstellar meet-cute Passengers, Michael Fassbender’s stabby Assassin’s Creed, a wacky-looking-McConaissance adventure Gold, and the animated-musical-McConaissance family film Sing.
In Live By Night, Affleck directs and stars in a gritty Bostonian heist film as a conflicted criminal with ties to the community. As his life begins to spin out of control, he fears that he can’t protect the woman he loves. And the problems he can’t solve with words will be dealt with in a hail of bullets, police be damned. The city also plays a prominent role, with its narrow cobblestone streets and where accents reign supreme. Actually, that’s the rundown for 2010’s The Town. But he also made Live By Night, which looks like the old-timey version of The Town that Affleck fans have been clamoring for.