Warrior is one of my favorite films of the year. Much more than just a movie about mixed martial arts, director Gavin O’Connor‘s film earns its stripes by spending time developing complex characters and familiar relationships that pay off in spades once the fighting begins.

Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton play estranged brothers who simultaneously, and unbeknownst to each other, begin training for a massive MMA tournament. Both have disowned their father (Nick Nolte in an Oscar-worthy performance), which creates another layer of tension when Hardy’s character enlists him to help with training. Edgerton goes the more traditional route and all of these threads come to a head under the bright lights of the octagon.

I’m not overstating my love for this film when I say Warrior does for MMA what Rocky did for boxing – it brings the sport into the hearts of the mainstream thanks to incredibly vivid characters and performances. It’ll make grown men cry, cheer and now you can see it early. After the jump, read how you can see the film a few days before its September 9 release.

Lionsgate is hosting special screenings of Warrior on Labor Day weekend, 7 p.m. on September 4, at theaters nationwide. Fans can buy tickets or find theaters by visiting http://www.warriorsneakpreview.com/.

They’ll also be promoting the event through Twitter with the hashtag #WARRIORMovieSneakPreview. Here’s Lionsgate’s  Motion Picture Group President Joe Drake.

We are in a fortunate position in that the best promotional tool for this incredible film is the film itself. This is truly a movie for everyone, and as we’ve screened it, people in all demographics- even those who might not have otherwise sought the film out- have been enthralled by its blend of triumphant, inspirational sports storytelling with poignant and powerful family drama.

Not only will fans be blown away by this film, Batman fans will see a lot of Bane in Tom Hardy’s incredible performance. He’s mean, he’s broken and he’s scary. It’s a great window into next summer.

Are you going to check this one out?

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