"Silver Linings Playbook" was set to open in over 2,000 theaters on Nov. 21, but that national rollout won't happen as planned. As first reported by The Los Angeles Times, "Silver Linings Playbook" will now arrive in 400 theaters on Thanksgiving eve, with The Weinstein Company planning a slow unveiling throughout the rest of the year. "We felt we had the reviews and the long runway after the movie opened to let the word of mouth build," David Glasser, TWC's chief operating officer, told The Times. "This is right out of our playbook."
While that might sound like studio executive bluster, Glasser isn't wrong. The Weinstein Company has perfected the platform release in recent years, especially for its Oscar contenders. In 2010, the studio opened "The King's Speech" in just four theaters over Thanksgiving weekend, and slowly expanded that total over the next couple of months; the Best Picture winner reached a high-water mark of 2,386 theaters on Feb. 25, 2011 and earned $135 million at the North American box office.
TWC turned a similar trick with "The Artist" last year. That film, which also went on to win Best Picture, opened in four theaters over Thanksgiving weekend and was being shown in 1,756 theaters by March 2, 2012.
"Silver Linings Playbook" won't be as sheltered by the studio. The plan is to potentially have the David O. Russell film in 800 theaters by Nov. 30.
While the move makes sense for TWC from both a financial and awards perspective, giving "Silver Linings Playbook" time to grow its audience was also done out of some necessity. Hollywood Elsewhere blogger Jeffrey Wells -- one of the film's most vocal supporters -- reported that audience awareness for "Silver Linings Playbook" was recently gauged at 30; usually, films need an audience level of over 50 to earn around $10 million.
Regardless of the release pattern, "Silver Linings Playbook" is expected to be one of the leggy hits of the holiday season. The family comedy-drama -- which stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro -- could wind up with a box office total of over $100 million by the time the Academy Awards occur in February.
For more on "Silver Linings Playbook," head over to the Los Angeles Times.