Back at the start of the year, which feels like a decade ago, Promising Young Woman stood out as one of my most anticipated movies of the year. The film looked to be a brutal takedown of toxic masculinity and rape culture via a revenge-driven Carey Mulligan, whose character Cassie had her life derailed because of mysterious circumstances. Given the subject of the film and a brief view of the trailer, it shouldn’t be too hard to piece together what the event could have been.
But then the coronavirus pandemic happened, and like all things good and joyous in this world, Promising Young Woman had its release postponed from April to an unspecified date. Alongside the new trailer, Focus Features announced that Promising Young Woman will release on December 25 domestically and it will be screened in theaters, unlike most major new releases that have chosen to opt-out of a theatrical run and go straight to VOD.
It’s interesting that Focus Features and parent company Universal took this direction with the film, but given it’s a smaller film, one that would have fit in naturally during the awards season, they may just be trying to gauge how willing audiences will be to head back into theaters come December. We’ve seen how Tenet is struggling to draw a crowd, so how will a smaller film fare?
However, thanks to the deal that Universal struck up with AMC earlier in the year, Universal releases will now have a shorter theatrical window and will appear on streaming services only 17 days after they premiere in theaters. So if you’re like me and you can’t wait to see this movie, but still absolutely think that movie theaters are still unsafe to go to in a pandemic, you’ll still be able to watch the film easily come January. Given the pedigree of the cast, which includes Alfred Molina, Bo Burnham, Allison Brie, and Laverne Cox, and first time director Emerald Fennell, who served as the showrunner for season two of Killing Eve, this is sure to be a movie worth discussing soon.
Promising Young Woman will release in theaters on December 25, followed by a digital release sometime in January.