The Railway Man ticketed for Boxing Day

18 July, 2013 by Don Groves

The producers and distributors of The Railway Man are showing great faith in the drama starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman by scheduling it for December 26, arguably the most competitive date in the calendar.

Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky, the film is based on a memoir by Eric Lomax, who, as a prisoner-of-war was forced to work on the construction of the Thai/Burma railway during WW2. Years later he confronted the Japanese soldier who tormented him.


The Australia/UK co-production had been due to open on October 24. Transmission Films announced the new release date today, which means it will compete with a raft of other openers including The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Ben Stiller’s comedy/drama The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, Stephen Frears’ Philomena, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave and Chilean director Sebastián Lelio’s Gloria.

On January 2 the competition will further intensify with the debuts of the spy saga Jack Ryan, which stars Keira Knightley, Chris Pine and Kevin Costner, Walking With Dinosaurs and August: Osage County, which features Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Juliette Lewis.

The Railway Man producer Chris Brown has full confidence in its prospects of drawing audiences on Boxing Day, telling IF, “It’s a very, very powerful film with extraordinary performances. If you want counter-programming to the post-Christmas fare, that’s the place to put it.”

"The film delivers " said Transmission's Andrew Mackie. "Jonathan has done a brilliant job. We feel it's a perfect date in line with the success of our previous films Quartet and The King's Speech at Christmas."

One factor behind the date switch is to co-ordinate the Australian launch more closely with its January premiere in the UK via Lionsgate.

Lionsgate pre-sold the film to every major territory internationally. The producers are negotiating a North American deal. The film was shot in Scotland, Queensland and Thailand, with some sequences filmed on the actual Death Railway.

The cast includes Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgård, Sam Reid, Tanroh Ishida and Hiroyuki Sanada. Frank Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson wrote the screenplay. The producers are Brown, Paterson and Bill Curbishley.