Ridley Scott is gunning for an Oscar – and if this fall’s buzzy Exodus: Gods and Kings doesn’t get him to that Dolby theatre stage (as it probably won’t, given the slew of competitors including Inherent Vice, Unbroken, Gone Girl and Interstellar), he’s already lined up his next attempt. The Gladiator director’s next film, sci-fi drama The Martian, has been shifted from its March 2016 date and set for a prime awards-season release date of November 25th, 2015.
That’s a big show of confidence in the project from 20th Century Fox. And perhaps the studio has good reason to be excited, seeing as Warner Bros.’ space-set drama Gravity shaped up into a major awards-season juggernaut last year. Based on the eBook by Andy Weir, The Martian follows an astronaut who becomes stranded on the Red Planet. With depleting oxygen and slimming options, he must reach his crew mates and find a way to get back home.
Matt Damon is currently attached for the lead role. Before Scott came aboard, The Cabin in the Woods writer-director Drew Goddard had penned a script with intentions to helm, though scheduling conflicts later forced him to depart. It’s currently unclear whether Scott will work from Goddard’s script as is or bring in another writer to tweak it.
Already, The Martian is facing stiff competition in that November date. Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur is also in that Thanksgiving holiday slot, as is Mud director Jeff Nichols’ sci-fi thriller Midnight Special. Additionally, Bond 24 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 both open earlier that month, the latter just a week before The Martian. It seems probably that, with a Pixar film and a Ridley Scott epic now also vying for box office dollars at the same time, Midnight Special will shift over by some amount. Then again, with Star Wars Episode VII, The Revenant, Inferno and Mission: Impossible 5, December’s not looking much better.
The Martian opens November 25th, 2015.