Benedict Cumberbatch’s spy drama “The Courier” that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year under the name “Ironbark” has been given a theatrical release date and a new title.
Lionsgate and its sister company Roadside Attractions will release the Cold War espionage film “The Courier” in theaters on August 28, 2020.
“Theaters have indicated gradual openings this summer, with health and safety guiding the way. If everything proceeds favorably, we feel the true spy thriller ‘The Courier,’ with a must see performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, is just the type of film that will have audiences excited to return to their local cinemas in late August,” Roadside co-presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff said in a statement.
When “The Courier” premiered as “Ironbark” back in Sundance, festival president John Cooper described the film as a “unique” choice for the festival that rarely screens period dramas. And though the film is based on a gravely serious true story, Cooke gives the film a sense of humor and crowd-pleasing charm that differentiates it from other espionage thrillers.
It seems award pundits are excited with BC's performance,
TBH I would prefer it to be a hit in the box office instead of being savaged by pundits during the increasingly nasty award seasons. This sounds like a fun humble little drama with a strong central performance that could attract mature audiences (A Dad's Movie according to young movie critics). The problem could be the Covid-19. If by the end of August things are calmer it could be a a hit with people happy to return to theatres but if not, it could be affected in multiple ways.
Anyway, it's nice to see those nice comments by pundits but, you know, they are always nice at the beginning!
For those not happy because the award possibilities, I checked and it's true that most Oscar nominated films are released in the last three months of the year but a few recent late Summer movies examples are BlacKkKlansman (August 10th), Sully (September 9th), Dunkirk (July 20th), Once upon in Hollywood (July 26th), Hell or High Water (August 26th), Boyhood (July 11th), Captain Fantastic (July 8th) and The Wife (August 17th) so it's not exactly impossible. Just statistically less frequent than a late Fall-Winter release.
I think the main worry, apart of Covid-19, is that the distributor just abandone it and didn't promote it in the best way but not necessarily the date.
More frivolous data, Roadside Attractions did a massive Oscar campaign for Renee Zellweger last year. Her film, Judy, had a more conventional award-baity release at Telluride but it was comercially released in the USA in September 27th. It's a Fall release but slightly earlier than most. They also released a movie in early August, The Peanut Butter Falcon with Shia LaBeouf. It did really well with both critics and audiences. According to Wikipedia it was "the highest grossing independent film of 2019".
In 2018, they also released two films in August and September. The August one, also bought at Sundance, was Juliet, Naked with Ethan Hawke and with a screenplay by indie darling Tamara Jackson. It was well received by the critics but not a big hit. The September title was Lizzie with Cloe Sevigny and Kirsten Stewart. I liked it but it wasn't successful at all. They released two movies in October but they weren't award baity nor critics darlings nor hits. Their only award winning movie in 2018 was the documentary Whitney about Whitney Houston and directed by Kevin Mcdonald, also Prisoner 760 director. It was released in the Summer.
And in 2017, they did a big Oscar campaign for Stronger with Jake Gyllenhaal. It was released late September and was well received by critics but failed in the box office and was totally ignored by the Academy. Their early August release was The Only Living Boy in New York, a big failure. Again, probably their biggest (discreet) hits of the year were two summer releases: Lady Macbeth and Beatriz at Dinner. Both did well with indie awards associations. They also released Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck in October. It was considered a big player before it was released because it was well received at Cannes but it was mostly ignored in the USA. American critics weren't that impressed neither.
I would guess they normally go for late September for their recent Oscar baity movies. They use to schedule an August movie (usually bought at an early of the year festival) but normally earlier than when they scheduled Ironbark/The Courier (Covid-19!). Maybe that's positive or maybe not: they bought another title at Sundance, The Glorias about Gloria Steinem with Julianne Moore playing her. TBH this film sounds much more Oscar baity than Ironbark/The Courier. I guess they will schedule it for a late September or maybe even October release.
Again, I just hope they see the potential of Ironbark/The Courier as a possible adult oriented hit. It doesn't need an award campaign to be a hit, especially because it's not just a bio but also a thriller that according to the Sundance reviews is really fun and a crowd-pleaser.
It's true! The articles are clearly based on a official statement.
Also someone on Twitter said a few days ago that she received an e-mail from an entertainment polling company with the trailer attached to it and she was surprised that this new The Courier movie was actually Ironbark. So there is already a trailer out there and if the test went well, we probably will watch it very soon.
It's a very generic title. I agreed Ironbark sounded slightly better. Not great but better. It also means something to the story so that automatically make it better. I bet they tested it and probably most people didn't knew what to make of the title, tho.
How sure are we that the name has been changed to The Courier? It sounded familiar, so I looked it up, and it was already a 2019 movie. The description on IMDB:
A federal task force operation is protecting a witness, Nick Murch, who is due to testify against a powerful crime lord Ezekiel Mannings. At the safe house, a courier rings a bell to deliver a package which is then revealed to be something that jeopardize the operation. And when someone tries to kill her during the package drop, she devoted herself to save Nick and make sure he finishes what he is ought to do.
I think somebody’s information got mixed up somewhere.
There are a lot of movies with that title. Someone posted the posters of a few of them on Twitter. All of them were forgettable so they just need to make a movie so good and popular that no one else would dare to use the title anymore in the future! 😉