On first glance, the move makes plenty of sense from both a box office and awards standpoint. As Weinstein Company chief Harvey Weinstein noted to Deadline.com, there are no other major wide releases scheduled for Nov. 30, meaning the film could find a significant audience. By releasing at the end of November, "Killing Them Softly" will also be fresh in Oscar voters' minds for consideration.
Of course, studios tend to shy away from releasing films on the weekend immediately following Thanksgiving. Last year, when the frame fell on Dec. 2-4, the only new film to arrive in theaters was "Shame," and that was a limited release. In 2010, "The Warrior's Way" was the only wide release film on that weekend ("Black Swan" also unspooled in 18 theaters), and it was met with audience indifference: "Warrior's Way" finished in ninth place with just $3 million in ticket sales. (In 2009, "Old Dogs" was a moderate success on the weekend after Thanksgiving, earning nearly $17 million.)
For The Weinstein Company, the shift puts "Killing Them Softly" between two of the studio's biggest possible hits of the year: "Silver Linings Playbook" (out in limited release on Nov. 21) and "Django Unchained" (wide release on Dec. 25).
"Killing Them Softly" is Pitt's second film with Andrew Dominik; the two previously worked together on "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." It debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May to strong reviews, and was noted for being gangster drama that also worked as treatise on the current American economic woes.
For more on the release shift, including which high-profile films "Killing Them Softly" was set to go up against on Oct. 19, head over to Deadline.com.