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Disney Drops Bikeriders, Austin Butler Drama Shopped to Rival Studios


The Bikeriders,” a drama directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Austin Butler, Jodie Comer, and Tom Hardy, is being shopped around town after Disney took the film off its slate.

Disney and 20th Century were scheduled to open the film on Dec. 1. But its backer, New Regency, opted in October to remove the film from the release calendar during the actors’ strike. “The Bikeriders” cost $40 million and premiered the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day weekend. It had hoped to qualify for this year’s Oscar season, but that would require “The Bikeriders” to debut in theaters sometime before the end of 2023. It’s 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 shop the film.

New Regency has a distribution deal with Disney’s 20th Century Studios and recently released the 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 misfire “Amsterdam.” Despite the starry cast of Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington, the $80 million movie crashed and burned with $31 million at the global box office. Sources say it was New Regency’s decision, not Disney’s, to find a new home for “The Bikeriders.” It’s unclear whether Disney will remain on the hook to release the film if another studio or streamer doesn’t acquire 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 round out the ensemble. 

In Variety’s review of “The Bikeriders,” chief film critic Peter Debruge praised the lead performances of Butler (“a born movie star”) and Hardy (“giving us two Marlon Brando performances for the price of one”). Without ignoring the dangers of motorcycle gangs, Debruge says “it goes a long way to humanize figures who’ve been long misrepresented on film, while giving audiences privileged access to this inner world.”



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