Paramount Pictures opted for “Good Morning America” Tuesday morning to announce that Adam McKay’s “The Big Short” — with an all-star cast featuring Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei and Melissa Leo — would be getting a December 2015 release. Not only that, but the film will see its world premiere as the closing night selection of November’s AFI Fest in Los Angeles.
The film, based on the book by Michael Lewis (“The Blind Side”), tells the story of bond and real estate derivative geeks who saw the housing crash of 2008 coming and bet against the collateralized debt obligation bubble, thus striking it rich. It’s kind of like betting the “Don’t Pass” line, for the craps players out there. These guys, who were really just trying to stick it to the big banks (which themselves would of course be bailed out), hit the jackpot while the American dream was being flushed down the toilet for regular Joes in the real world.
The announcement comes on the heels of a wave of successful test screenings and at a time when the studio could really use some more fodder for the awards season. Paramount picked up “Anomalisa” at the Toronto Film Festival last week, a challenging animated endeavor from Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson that has inherent limitations as a broader Oscar play.
“The Big Short” will hit theaters in limited release Dec. 11 and, as I hear it, could be an awards play for Christian Bale and particularly Steve Carell, with other hopes for best picture and best adapted screenplay lingering. It’s a potential power player for New Regency, already riding a one-two best picture punch in “12 Years a Slave” and “Birdman.” Like David Gordon Green’s “Our Brand Is Crisis,” it tackles current events from a dark humor angle and that could resonate amid other, deadly serious contenders like “Black Mass” and “The Danish Girl.” The AFI Fest premiere will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Nov. 12.