Mark Wahlberg’s Boston Marathon bombing movie, Patriots’ Day has award aspirations

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Lionsgate and CBS Films appear to be confident in Mark Walhberg’s latest project, a film about the Boston Marathon bombing called Patriots’ Day. The studios have slated the drama for release on December 21, reports Variety, which is a competitive time for box office sales, and right in the thick of awards season.

Only viewers in select cities will be able to see Patriots’ Day when it first hits theaters. The film’s initial release will be limited, followed by a nationwide release on January 13. Spotlight, which won Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards, followed a similar model when it released in 2015, opening in limited release in early November before expanding into theaters across the country later that month.

Patriots’ Day centers on the horrific bombing at the marathon, which took place on April 15, 2013 and resulted in multiple deaths and hundreds of injuries. Wahlberg will play a Boston Police officer who was key to the subsequent investigation and highly publicized manhunt for the perpetrators. He will be joined by Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), who is set to portray Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese, an officer of the Watertown Police Department. The movie will be based on the account of former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.

Peter Berg will direct the film, who has previously collaborated with Wahlberg on HBO’s Ballers and has a resume that includes the films Lone Survivor, Hancock, and The Kingdom. The screenplay comes from Matt Charman, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his work co-writing 2015’s Bridge of Spies.

Wahlberg is producing alongside Scott Stuber, Hutch Parker, Dylan Clark, Stephen Levinson, and Michael Radutzky, a 60 Minutes senior producer. Lionsgate and CBS Films have teamed up to co-finance the movie, with Lionsgate in charge of distribution and CBS Films handling production and marketing.

Production on Patriots’ Day is set to begin in Boston this month.

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