Poor Things

Searchlight moves “Poor Things” to December amid the strike — and despite the Venice premiere

“Poor Things” really – for viewers who now have to wait at least a few more months.

Searchlight Pictures just moved Yorgos Lanthimos’ short story Frankenstein from its scheduled September 8 release date to a holiday-adjacent opening of December 8, 2023. The distributor and the Disney-owned production company made the announcement Tuesday morning just hours after the director of the Venice Film Festival confirmed the film for a place in competition as a world premiere.

The change comes as studios begin debating which films they can push forward without talent amid SAG-AFTRA strike orders that prevent union members from promoting their work in any form, including interviews, social media and flash-lit festival red carpets that draw attention to the fall season’s Oscar hopefuls.

However, “Poor Things” will go ahead as originally planned at the Lido without Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe and others from the ensemble to wave at the paparazzi from water taxis and attend press conferences, introductory screenings and standing ovations. Will Lanthimos show up without her actors? You won the Grand Jury Prize in 2018 for your Oscar-winning “La Favorita” and Best Screenplay in 2011 for “Alpi”.

“Poor Things” is based on Scottish author Alasdair Gray’s 1992 postmodern novel about a woman who drowns herself to escape her abusive husband and is resurrected with her unborn child’s brain. Ramy Youssef, Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Abbott, Margaret Qualley and Kathryn Hunter also star.

A Bloomberg report yesterday suggested that Disney was considering moving, in addition to “Poor Things,” “Wish” and the Toronto International Film Festival world premiere “Next Goal Wins,” a Searchlight title as well. “Next Goal” is set for November 17, which buys time for the study. “Wish” follows suit on Nov. 22, but both films are presumably Oscar nominees. Studios are in hold mode right now with releases as SAG-AFTRA and WGA continue to struggle with AMPTP. As for indie, A24 recently paused the theatrical release of writer/director Julio Torres’ SXSW breakout “Problemista.” The studio has Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla” headed to Venice, but with no set date for theatrical release.

MGM/Amazon recently moved “Challengers” from its September release date to April 26, as well as pulling it from the Venice opening night. During this morning’s press conference in Venice, festival director Alberto Barbera said he doesn’t expect any more films to be snatched from the lineup, including ‘Poor Things’.