Michael Keaton's fast food tale "The Founder" is coming faster than expected, as the Weinstein Company has moved up the McDonald's movie from Thanksgiving week to Aug. 5, the studio announced Tuesday.
Both films are expected to be awards contenders next year, particularly in the best actor category. "The Founder" will be the more commercial title, and as such, it'll be released in August, the same month that TWC debuted "Lee Daniels' The Butler," which grossed $116 million at the domestic box office.
Garth Davis' "Lion" will open the Friday after Thanksgiving, when new releases will include Disney's "Moana," the comedy sequel "Bad Santa 2" and an untitled romantic spy thriller starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard.
Written by Robert Siegel ("Big Fan"), "The Founder" is a drama that tells the true story of how Ray Kroc (Keaton), a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers' speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. He maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion dollar empire.
Adapted from the non-fiction book "A Long Way Home" by Saroo Brierley, "Lion" is about a five-year-old Indian boy who, after a wrong train takes him thousands of miles away from home and family, survives many challenges before being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, armed with only the scantest of clues, he learns of a new technology called Google Earth, and sets out to find his lost family.
The Weinstein Company won a single Oscar on Sunday night -- best score for "The Hateful Eight" -- and is no doubt hoping for a better haul at next year's ceremony.
"We are very excited for 'The Founder' and 'Lion' coming out this season. I am determined to show that adult fare and award-caliber movies should be able to open any time of year and be successful," said TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. "Last season we saw a crowded fall where some terrific films struggled to find an audience. This year, I want to spread out our slate and give them the best opportunity to succeed. 'The Founder' is brilliant and one of the most controversial films I have had the pleasure to be associated. The story of Ray Kroc should ignite adult audiences this summer and send the incredible team of John Lee Hancock and Michael Keaton back to the Dolby Theatre. The touching and beautiful family story of 'Lion' has tremendous performances by Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara, and will work really well during the holiday season."