Two days ago Deadline‘s Michael Fleming reported about a special private screening of Alexander Payne‘s The Holdovers. The idea, at least in theory, was that Payne’s Christmas-themed, Paul Giamatti-starring dramedy might open later this year. Fleming: “It’s very possible that one of the usual suspects will step up and put this film [into] the awards season race late in the year.”

Not so fast, Mike! You were right about last weekend’s private screening, but Focus features has bought the distribution rights, and they’ve boldly decided to open it during Christmas 2023.

It would seem, in short, that Focus has decided that it’ll be too strenuous to open The Holdovers 14 or 15 weeks hence, and it’ll be somewhat easier (and perhaps less costly) to open it 16 months down the road. Probably because (I’m just guessing here) they’ve decided it’s too subtle and modestly adult and character-driven in a low-key way to compete as a year-end, award-calibre attraction quite so soon. Or something like that.