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AFI FEST Seeks Replacement for Opening Weekend Gala as 'Foxcatcher' Falls Out

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 27, 2013 at 1:59PM

The good news for the AFI FEST (November 7-14) is that it often lands late-finishers in the Oscar derby. The bad news is that they sometimes don't finish. That's what happened with Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher," which was scheduled for the festival's high-profile opening weekend Friday gala on November 8. Opening night is "Saving Mr. Banks" and closing is "Inside Llewyn Davis," but AFI had hoped to world premiere the Sony Pictures Classics release, which will now benefit from further tinkering before SPC opens the film, not on December 20, but in 2014.
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"Foxcatcher"
Sony Pictures Classics "Foxcatcher"

The good news for the AFI Fest (November 7-14) is that it often lands late-finishers in the Oscar derby. The bad news is that they sometimes don't finish. That's what happened with Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher," which was scheduled for the festival's high-profile opening weekend Friday gala on November 8. Opening night is "Saving Mr. Banks" and closing is "Inside Llewyn Davis," but they had hoped to world premiere the Sony Pictures Classics release, which will now benefit from further tinkering before SPC opens the film not on December 20 but in 2014. "We saw the rough cut and it was great," says fest director Jacqueline Lyanga. "We programmed it because we have faith and belief in Bennett Miller. Our real purpose is to support the filmmaker and how they want to present the film, when they are ready to show it." 

"We're still programming," adds Lyanga, "and we'll make some announcements next week." Another film that threatens to fall out of Oscar contention is Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," which is reportedly still over-length and rushing toward Paramount's editing deadlines. Other possible new entries in the AFI Fest could be NYFF selections from Spike Jonze ("Her") and Ben Stiller ("The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"), Jason Reitman's Telluride/Toronto entry "Labor Day," Sony's "American Hustle," from David O. Russell, and George Clooney's World War II adventure "Monuments Men." 

This article is related to: Awards, Awards, Foxcatcher, AFI Fest, AFI, Festivals


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.