Warner Bros. sets October release for 'Cloud Atlas' while Searchlight renames 'The Sessions'

Posted by · 10:15 am · June 20th, 2012

October 26 is a pretty sweet spot to be opening a film you might want to pitch for awards, and Warner Bros. has just settled on that date for “Cloud Atlas,” Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski’s 165 minute adaptation of David Mitchell’s kaleidoscopic novel, which follows six separate but connected narratives through an array of genres.

Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight had already set Ben Lewin’s Sundance hit “Six Sessions” (formerly “The Surrogate”) for that date, but they’ve also gone and re-titled it a third time. The film is now called simply “The Sessions” and is based on the life of poet, journalist and polio victim Mark O’Brien. John Hawkes has been receiving Oscar buzz for his performance as O’Brien (whose story has already been told in one Oscar-winning film, the 1996 short documentary “”Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien”), as has co-star Helen Hunt. HitFix’s Drew McWeeny wrote of the film from Sundance that it gives Hawkes his “career-best role.”

Who knows how “Cloud Atlas” will land in the season, though? Warner Bros. Domestic Distribution President Dan Fellman says in the press release, “Audiences who have seen an early screening of ‘Cloud Atlas” have been elated by its powerful and inspiring story, as well as its breathtaking visuals. An October release in North America is the perfect window to showcase this epic film.” Whatever that means.

I’ve never read the novel. I don’t know who might have meaty roles throughout the ensemble, which includes Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, James D’Arcy, Keith David, Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving and Ben Whishaw, among others. But it certainly sounds intriguing. Drew digs in regarding the hard work laying ahead for WB here.

It’s also another massive 165 minute for Warners to pitch (along with “The Dark Knight Rises”). I also imagine “The Great Gatsby” will clock in at a significant running time. And I figure “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” won’t be too slim, either. I’m still high on Ben Affleck’s “Argo,” also set for an October release (October 12, to be precise). I heard recently that it dips further into inspirational movie territory than politico-procedural. There’s also “Trouble with the Curve” and “Magic Mike,” as laid out in our per-studio pre-Oscar season breakdown last week.

Searchlight, meanwhile, also has “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (opening limited next week) and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” primed for the season.

Other potential Oscar plays currently slatted for October release include Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” and David Chase’s “Not Fade Away.”

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