Disney drops Bikeriders, Austin Butler drama bought from Rival Studios

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“The Bikeriders,” a drama directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Austin Butler, Jodie Comer and Tom Hardy, is hitting town after Disney removed the film from its roster.

Disney and 20th Century were scheduled to open the film on December 1. But its backer, New Regency, opted in October to pull the film from the release schedule during the actors’ strike. “The Bikeriders” cost $40 million and premiered at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day weekend. He had hoped to qualify for this year’s Oscar season, but that would require “The Bikeriders” to debut in theaters before the end of 2023. It is now unlikely to land on the big screen this year, according to the new Hollywood newsletter TheInSneider, which first reported on New Regency’s plan to purchase the film.

New Regency has a distribution deal with Disney’s 20th Century Studios and recently released Gareth Edwards’ sci-fi thriller “The Creator,” which grossed $103 million on its $80 million budget. These companies also collaborated on David O. Russell’s expensive 2022 dud, “Amsterdam.” Despite the star-studded cast of Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington, the $80 million film crashed and burned with $31 million at the worldwide box office. Sources say it was New Regency’s decision, not Disney’s, to find a new home for “The Bikeriders.” It is unclear whether Disney will remain obligated to release the film if another studio or streamer does not acquire the distribution rights.

Adapted from Danny Lyon’s book, “The Bikeriders” follows the rise and fall of a fictional 1960s motorcycle club in the Midwest. Michael Shannon, Mike Faist and Norman Reedus complete the ensemble.

In Variety In his review of “The Bikeriders,” chief film critic Peter Debruge praised the lead performances of Butler (“a natural-born movie star”) and Hardy (“giving us two performances of Marlon Brando for the price of one “). Without ignoring the dangers of biker gangs, Debruge believes that “it goes a long way to humanizing characters who have long been distorted in films, while giving the audience privileged access to this inner world.”

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