Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’: It’s official! Paramount sets release date in time for Oscars

We recently added Martin Scorsese‘s highly anticipated “Silenceto our Oscars predictions center, but now it’s official: Paramount Pictures has announced that it will debut the film in theaters on Dec. 23 in limited release, followed by a wider roll-out in January.

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Such a late release is a  risky Oscar move these days — no December opening has won Best Picture since “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004 — but that doesn’t mean it’s out of the race. Far from it. “American Sniper” (2014) and “The Revenant” (2015) both opened in December before wider releases in January; they both exceeded expectations in their Oscar nomination totals (six for “Sniper,” 12 for “Revenant”), and they both made a killing at the box office (more than $500 million worldwide for each).

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“Silence” is based on the novel of the same name by Shusaku Endo and tells the story of Jesuit priests who face persecution when they visit Japan to spread the teachings of Christianity. It stars Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network”), Adam Driver (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), Ciaran Hinds (“Game of Thrones”) and Oscar-nominee Liam Neeson (“Schindler’s List”).

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The screenplay is by Jay Cocks, an Oscar-nominee for writing Scorsese’s previous films “The Age of Innocence” (1993) and “Gangs of New York” (2002). Also behind the camera, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto was an Oscar contender for lensing “Brokeback Mountain”; costume and production designer Dante Ferretti has won three Oscars (“The Aviator” in 2004, “Sweeney Todd” in 2007 and “Hugo” in 2011); and editor Thelma Schoonmaker also has three Oscars  for cutting Scorses pictures (“Raging Bull” in 1980, “The Aviator” in 2004 and “The Departed” in 2006). Producers include Oscar-winner Irwin Winkler (“Rocky”), as well as Gaston Pavlovich of Fabrica de Cine, which provided lead financing for film.

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