Benedict Cumberbatch Spy Drama 'Ironbark' Gets New Title, Hits Theaters In August

At this year's Sundance Film Festival, Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange, Star Trek Into Darkness) starred in a true-life Cold War spy drama called Ironbark, which features one of the most notable performances of the actor's entire career. Now that movie has a new title: Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have changed its name to The Courier. Read on to find out when you can (hopefully) see it in theaters.

The Courier Release Date

Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions are looking to drop The Courier into theaters on August 28, 2020. As the United States begins to slowly reopen sectors of society and public places amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the future of movie theaters is still very much an open question. Christopher Nolan's spy thriller Tenet is aiming to be the first major studio film to potentially lure audiences back to theaters in July, with Disney's Mulan following shortly thereafter. Many other movies have already shifted their dates to later in the year or even to next year, which leaves The Courier seemingly well-positioned to be able to capitalize – assuming, of course, that theaters are actually open in August and people are willing to risk seeing movies in public at that point.

"Theaters have indicated gradual openings this summer, with health and safety guiding the way. If everything proceeds favorably, we feel the true spy thriller The Courier, with a must see performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, is just the type of film that will have audiences excited to return to their local cinemas in late August," Roadside co-presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d'Arbeloff said in a joint statement.

Here's the movie's synopsis:

The Courier is the true story of an unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne (Cumberbatch) recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. At the behest of the UK's MI-6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan), he forms a covert, dangerous partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In my review, I called the film "a rock solid spy drama" and praised Cumberbatch's transformative performance, which goes to Christian Bale-levels at one point during the story. It's worth seeking out for that lead performance alone, and fans of recent Steven Spielberg will find a lot to like as well:

More than any other film, Ironbark is a companion piece to Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies, another Dad-Approved™ period thriller about tense U.S.-Russian relations. Both movies are set against a similar backdrop, and both are ultimately about how two cogs in governmental wheels can make inroads when they actually get to know each other. It's another "people are fundamentally not so different from each other" movie, and even if Tom O'Connor's script never really breaks any new ground, the movie wears its heart on its sleeve in a way that's almost old-fashioned in its sincerity.

Dominic Cooke (On Chesil Beach) directs, and we'll be curious to see if this is actually able to hit its planned August 28, 2020 release date.