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Steven Spielberg Pentagon Papers Drama Gets 2017 Oscar Season Release

Variety logo Variety 4/22/2017 Brent Lang
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Steven Spielberg’s untitled Pentagon Papers drama announced itself as a major awards season contender in this year’s Oscars race.

The film, which is rumored to star Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, will open in limited release on December 22, 2017. It will expand nationwide on January 12, 2018, a week after the Golden Globes broadcast. Hanks will play hard-charging Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, with Streep handling the role of iron-willed publisher Katharine Graham. The pair made the decision to publish a classified history of the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War over the objections of the Nixon administration. Courageous journalist dramas have played nicely with Oscar voters — 2015’s “Spotlight” won Best Picture, while 2005’s “Good Night and Good Luck” and 1976’s “All the President’s Men” earned a bevy of nominations.

The opening slot puts the Spielberg film in the hunt for Academy Awards gold along with the likes of Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing,” “The Current War” with Benedict Cumberbatch, and “The Greatest Showman” with Hugh Jackman.

Twentieth Century Fox is distributing the film. The studio also announced that “Red Sparrow,” a spy thriller that reunites Jennifer Lawrence with her “Hunger Games” director Francis Lawrence, will open on March 2, 2018. It was originally slated to debut on November 10, 2017, but Fox thinks a spring release will be less competitive. There are no other wide releases opening on that date. The next weekend brings “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2” from Disney.

The studio moved “Murder on the Orient Express,” an all-star adaptation of the Agatha Christie mystery with Kenneth Branagh, Johnny Depp, and Daisy Ridley into the spot left vacant by “Red Sparrow.” It was originally intended to open on November 22.

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