Why is Kathryn Bigelow's "Detroit" being released in August? We don't really know.




The new trailer for Kathryn Bigelow's new film, "Detroit," is exactly what you expect. Tense, taut, terrific stuff. However, there still hasn't really been an answer as to why Annapurna is releasing this film in early August, a very un-Oscar release date for a film. In fact, based on my own frustrating research, there hasn't been a Best Picture Oscar winner released in August since Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" was released more than 25 years ago on August 3rd, 1992.

The eagerly anticipated follow-up to Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty” is probably the movie I'm looking forward to most this summer movie season, alongside Christopher Nolan’s "Dunkirk." It has a late summer release which has Oscar pundits scratching their heads. The film is likely to stir conversation and it’s always better to get that all over with before the more brutal Oscar season starts. Many films are simply chewed up and spit out for even daring to “go there” – so an earlier release date does two things: takes the Oscar heat off a bit, and gives people time to get it all out of their system before fall. "Zero Dark Thirty" came out way too late and by the time its absurd backlash died down it was long past too late.  

Nevertheless, it is a little odd to have this on August 4th, the last time a film won Best Picture and was released before Septemeber, you would have to go back to June of 2009 when Bigelow's own "The Hurt Locker" finally had its release. Why do I say "finally"? Because it had premiered almost a full year before that in September of 2008 at the Toronto International Film Festival. An oddity to say the least. 

Mark Boal, who penned Bigelow's previous two efforts, has written the screenplay for "Detroit" which details the 1967 Detroit race riots, one of the biggest citizen uprisings in U.S. history.  Bigelow is at her best dealing with scenes of war, the violence on the streets in "Detroit" is, to say the least, not a change of pace from The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty's American wars.

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