Limited release ensures 2017 Oscars eligibility for a host of movies

THE movies "Live by Night," "Silence," "Hidden Figures," "Patriots' Day" and "A Monster Calls" are all up for limited release in select US theaters this winter to ensure eligibility for the 2017 Oscars.
There are several ways movie studios can make sure their production is eligible for one of the Academy's famous golden statuettes. Certain films head out on a tour of the world's most prestigious film festivals.
This year saw Damian Chazelle's "La La Land," Tom Ford's "Nocturnal Animals," Denis Villeneuve's "First Contact" and Pablo Larrain's "Jackie" all tour the festival circuit, with screenings at Venice, Toronto, New York or Telluride.
But not all the year's Oscar-worthy feature films are ready to be screened around the world in the months preceding their US release. Some aren't even planned for public viewing in 2016, making moviegoers wait until the early months of the following year.
However, to ensure these films are eligible for Oscar nominations, American studios use the new and increasingly popular technique of the limited release. This sees movies that are tipped to scoop nominations released in select theaters in the USA — usually in New York and Los Angeles –before going on general release countrywide at a later date.
Tough competition this holiday season
Warner is using this kind of staggered release for Ben Affleck's upcoming movie "Live by Night." This adaptation of the Denis Lehane novel of the same name will be out from December 25 in a limited number of theaters, before going on general release January 13.
"Hidden Figures," starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner, goes on limited release December 25 then on general release January 13, and "Patriots' Day," starring Mark Wahlberg, lands December 21 then January 13. "20th Century Women," with Elle Fanning is up for limited release December 25 and "A Monster Calls," directed by J. A. Bayona is in selected theaters December 23 then countrywide January 6.
Even Martin Scorsese is getting in on the game, with his historical drama "Silence" landing December 23 before general release in January.
With so many movies in store, American theaters will be particularly busy at the end of 2016.
Competition will be tough in the last week of the year, with releases including "Fences," directed by Denzel Washington," the comedy "Why Him?" starring James Franco and Bryan Cranston, and "Gold" with Matthew McConaughey.
December 16 also sees the release of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," "La La Land," "Collateral Beauty" starring Will Smith, "Passengers," "Assassin's Creed" and the animated comedy "Sing."

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