It was announced today that Warner Bros. will release Clint Eastwood‘s The Mule, based on a true story about an old guy who volunteers his services as a drug mule, on 12.14.18. Eastwood has directed and produced the film, and plays the lead role to boot.

It wasn’t long ago when the announcement of a Eastwood film opening in December would stir notions of possible Oscar contention. That’s due to the impactful December releases of Million Dollar Baby (12.15.04) and Gran Torino (12.12.08), and to a lesser extent American Sniper (12.25.14).

But the critical responses to Eastwood’s recent Sully (’16) and The 15:17 to Paris (’18) have, due respect, diminished the buzz along these lines. Variety‘s Brent Lang has flatly stated that The Mule “is seen as more of a commercial effort” and is “not expected to be a major Oscar contender.”

The Mule costars Bradley Cooper, Michael Pena, Laurence Fishburne and Dianne Wiest.