By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com August 4, 2011 at 1:44AM
International release dates can be a curious thing. With international box office making up bigger and bigger percentages of total grosses, many high profile films open abroad before they do in the States, with "Fast Five," "Thor" and "X-Men First Class" numbering among them. But then others, such as "Bridesmaids" and "Super 8," which require a little more work, get a steady roll-out, taking months to make their way around their world. And then there are the prestige pictures. The vagaries of international distribution mean that some pictures will sneak out abroad after festival bows -- "The Tree Of Life" opened in France weeks before the U.S -- while others can literally take years to find a big-screen home, like Oren Moverman's "The Messenger," which bowed in the U.K. in June, a full eighteen months after its American release.
But the fall holds some good news for British movie fans, at least: "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" arrives in September, two months ahead of its Thanksgiving date in the States, and now news has filtered in that two big festival pictures have now landed firm U.K. dates, which seem likely to be ahead of any U.S. bow. Firstly, the excellent Shadow & Act report that Andrea Arnold's follow-up to "Fish Tank," her adaptation of Emily Brontë's classic love story "Wuthering Heights," will open on November 11th, courtesy of Artificial Eye. The film might have a virtually unknown cast (newcomer James Howson plays Heathcliff, while "Skins" star Kaya Scodelario is Cathy), but considering the source material, it has the potential to be something of a crossover film for the helmer, as well as likely being a big contender for the BAFTAs.
Meanwhile, Empire report that Momentum Pictures will open Steve McQueen's "Shame," his sexually charged follow-up to outstanding debut "Hunger," on January 13th. The film will see McQueen's lead in his last film Michael Fassbender return, this time playing a New Yorker battling sex addiction, who also has to deal with the arrival of his troubled sister (Carey Mulligan) in town.
Neither film has U.S. distribution yet, and, while it's possible that both could be picked up for release before the end of the year (particularly "Wuthering Heights," which we named last week as one of ten films with the potential to upset the awards race), it may be a while before either hit U.S. shores. In the meantime, both films will bow at Venice, where we'll bring you our verdicts, while "Shame" will then hit Toronto, and "Wuthering Heights" may make a festival appearance, possibly at the New York Film Festival.