Ben Affleck’s LIVE BY NIGHT Gets Oscar-Friendly December Limited Release

If you had asked me fifteen years ago which Affleck was the most successful Affleck, I would’ve pegged Casey without a second thought. Sure, Ben may have gotten all the higher stakes gigs and bigger paychecks, but Casey seemed to retain more artistic integrity in the projects he took on. This, of course, was back when Affleck was a rom-com dude, and only a couple years before he would don the Daredevil mask in a film that would rub fans of the character the wrong way for years to come.

In the time since that era, Affleck has had something of a renaissance. He’s not only being taken more seriously as an actor these days, but he’s directed three excellent films — one of which went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It’s with all this that we’ll be getting his next directorial effort, Live By Night, a film based on the Dennis Lehane novel of the same name.

Up until now, all we’ve known about its release is that it would get a wide release one on January 13. Normally, this would be alarming, as January is known to be a dumping ground for bad movies to die a slow, painful, and profitless death. However, it was assumed that this was only the wide release for the film. Affleck, after all, is a hot commodity for Warner Bros., and there’s no way they’d throw his latest film — no matter how bad — on a trash heap when they are investing in so many of his projects. As such, it was speculated that the film would receive an end of the year limited release, so as to put it in the window for Oscar consideration.

Now, thanks to a report from THR, it looks like that’s indeed the case. According to the outlet, Live By Night will be hitting select theaters on Christmas Day, beating out the New Year’s Eve deadline for Oscar consideration.

Let’s hope that this faith from Warner Bros. is well placed. I, like many film junkies out there, have unreasonably high expectations of Live By Night. Affleck hasn’t had a miss yet in his films, and there’s always a lot of pressure when making a follow-up to an Oscar-winning film, and this is no different. 

There’s also an added pressure, however, in the fact that Affleck’s next film will be The Batman. So far, the DC Extended Universe doesn’t have the most promising track record, and should Live By Night fail to meet expectations, or dare I say, completely miss the mark as a good film altogether, it will raise doubts about the potential quality of The Batman. When all said and done, Hollywood is all about “what have you done for me lately?” and if he delivers a stinker, fans will likely not be so forgiving when it’s time for him to suit up as Batman for the standalone film.

Regardless, this seems like a promising move, and I’m admittedly being doom-and-gloom in hopes of not setting my expectations at an unreasonably high level.

What do you think of this release date? Is this proof in the faith Warner Bros. has in the film? Can it live up to the high bar Argo set? What would this do for fans’ confidence if the flick was a dud? Let us know your thoughts down below!

Live By Night hits select theaters on December 25, 2016, and gets awide release on January 13, 2017.

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