the aeronauts release

The winds have shifted, and Amazon’s big-ass hot air balloon movie The Aeornauts won’t be getting a traditional theatrical release after all. Amazon had originally planned for the Eddie Redmayne/Felicity Jones movie to float into cinemas like any other theatrical release in October, with a one-week IMAX-run thrown in to boot. But now,  you can expect The Aeornauts to have a short theatrical run in December, before dropping onto Amazon Prime Video quickly after. Amazon is likely reconsidering their traditional theatrical window after they spent a huge chunk of change for the Sundance hit Late Night, only to see the film flounder at the box office this summer.

Deadline reports that Amazon has reconsidered their original plans for The Aeornauts release. Set in the 1800s, the movie “follows wealthy young widow Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) and headstrong scientist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne), as they mount a balloon expedition to fly higher than anyone in history. This is a journey to the very edge of existence, where the air is thin and the chances of survival are slim. As their perilous ascent reveals their true selves, this unlikely pair discover things about each other – and themselves – that helps each of them find their place in the world they have left behind.”

Amazon initially planned to release the costume drama during a special one-week engagement beginning October 25, 2019, then expanding nationally for a full theatrical run in additional theaters on November 1. But now that’s not happening. Instead, The Aeornauts will get a “short stateside theatrical release” on December 6, before dropping onto Amazon Prime Video on December 20.

There are two ways to look at this. One is that by pushing The Aeornauts to December, Amazon has put the movie even further into awards season. Another is that Amazon is skittish about big theatrical releases after a disappointing summer. Amazon Studios shelled out a whopping $13 million for MindyKailing’s comedy Late Night, a film that went over very well at Sundance. Unfortunately, the Sundance hype didn’t translate to the general public. Its underperformance at the box office is said to have cost Amazon close to $40 million. And while Amazon has all the money in the world, that’s still not great.

Ultimately, limiting the theatrical release for The Aeronauts is probably a smart move. There seems to be zero buzz for the movie, and the box office landscape grows more dire with every passing day. It looks more and more likely that only huge franchise pictures draw big crowds, while original titles fizzle. Putting the film on streaming quickly ensures that viewers less inclined to venture out to the multiplex will actually watch the dang thing.

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