Benedict Cumberbatch Spy Drama ‘The Courier’ Gets a New Title and August Release Date

The film premiered at Sundance with the title “Ironbark” and will open in theaters Aug. 28 from Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions

Benedict Cumberbatch The Courier Ironbark
Liam Daniel Courtesy of Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions

Benedict Cumberbatch’s spy drama “The Courier” that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year under the name “Ironbark” has been given a theatrical release date and a new title.

Lionsgate and its sister company Roadside Attractions will release the Cold War espionage film “The Courier” in theaters on August 28, 2020.

Dominic Cooke (“On Chesil Beach”) directs “The Courier” with a cast that also include Rachel Brosnahan and Merab Ninidze. It’s based on the true story of Greville Wynne (Cumberbatch), an unassuming British businessman who is recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. At the behest of the UK’s MI-6 and a CIA operative (Brosnahan), he forms a covert, dangerous partnership with ​Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Ninidze) in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Tom O’Connor wrote the script for “The Courier.” The film is a 42 M&P, SunnyM​arch and FilmNation Entertainment ​production. Adam Ackland, Ben Browning, Ben Pugh and Rory Aitken are the producers. Leah Clarke, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ashley Fox, Glen Basner, Alison Cohen, Milan Popelka, Dominic Cooke, Tom O’Connor and Josh Varney are executive producers.

“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 ha​ve audiences excited to return to their local cinemas in late August,” Roadside co-presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff said in a statement.

When “The Courier” premiered as “Ironbark” back in Sundance, festival president John Cooper described the film as a “unique” choice for the festival that rarely screens period dramas. And though the film is based on a gravely serious true story, Cooke gives the film a sense of humor and crowd-pleasing charm that differentiates it from other espionage thrillers.

Last week, Lionsgate dated the Janelle Monaáe horror film “Antebellum” to open in theaters on Aug. 21 as the studio’s first release of the summer, one week before “The Courier” is scheduled to open.