Damian Chazelle‘s La-La Land was recently research-screened in Pasadena. I heard (a) “diverting and lightly enjoyable,” (b) “a cute little love letter to old movies, old musicals, and the city of LA” and that (c) Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the singing-and-dancing leads, are both “really great.” Now TheWrap‘s Jeff Sneider is reporting that La-La Land is being given an award-season slot on 12.2.16 instead of a previously slated 7.15.16 debut.
In other words, they’re figuring that likely critical and industry approval plus an easy Golden Globes nomination for Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical will give the film a better launch than if they just open it in mid-July and hope for the best.
The conventional wisdom is that La-La Land wouldn’t have had a chance against Sony’s Ghostbusters if it had stuck to the 7.15 opening. But of course these films aren’t really competing. La-La Land will appeal to cultured sophistos, fans of old musicals, cineastes, educated types; Ghostbusters is aimed squarely at the animal trade.