Film release scheduling tends to get tricky around the end of the year. Not only do studios have to weigh all the usual concerns, they also need to keep an eye on the December 31 cutoff date for Academy Award qualification, and so they devise strategies to work around it or use it to their benefit.

Lionsgate is giving Stand Up Guys an awards season push, moving its release date up to December for New York and Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Sony is looking to take advantage of all-but-inevitable Oscar buzz for Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty by scaling back the wide release originally planned for the end of this year. Read more about both decisions after the jump.

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Under most circumstances, a movie about Christopher Walken, Al Pacino, and Alan Arkin indulging in an all-night bender complete with hard drugs, pretty girls, and grand theft auto would sound like a hoot. But along comes Hector Salamanca Mark Margolis to make it sad.

Fisher StevensStand Up Guys starts with Val’s (Pacino) release from prison after nearly three decades. He reconvenes with his old pals Doc (Walken) and Hirsch (Arkin) for a wild night on the town, and on the surface it seems their bond is as strong as ever. In truth, however, Doc is under strict orders to take Val out. As morning approaches, so does his moment of truth. Julianna Margulies also stars. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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The latest actor to join Christian Bale in Scott Cooper‘s Out of the Furnace is likely to be Zoe Saldana. She’s in early talks for the film that Cooper is rewriting (based on Brad Ingelsby‘s The Low Dweller script) and will direct as his follow-up to Crazy Heart.

Bale will be an ex-con who is determined to avenge the death of his younger brother after being released from prison. Various actors have been mentioned as possible choices for the brother (Casey Affleck, Garrett Hedlund, Taylor Kitsch and Channing Tatum) and Robert Duvall is nearly set to play the main character’s helpful uncle, while Viggo Mortensen could end up being the villain.

Out of the Furnace could shoot this spring if the cast comes together and Relativity gives it the final green light. As we’ve heard before, that green light will primarily be based on the finalization of a deal with Bale, which hasn’t yet happened. [Variety]

After the break, a film called The Occult signs Rufus Sewell and Anne Heche, and Julianna Margulies joines Al Pacino in the comedic action film Stand Up Guys. Read More »

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