Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Wolf of Wall Street." (Mary Cybulski/Paramount…)
EXCLUSIVE: After weeks of speculation that Martin Scorsese's "Wolf of Wall Street" wouldn't hit theaters until 2014, the financial drama will arrive on Christmas Day and thrust a late entrant into the Oscar race, say three people close to the film.
But in the process, the Paramount release will likely bump the Tom Clancy reboot "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," which Paramount has scheduled to open the same day, to early 2014.
"Wolf of Wall Street," adapted from Jordan Belfort's memoir about his meteoric rise and fall as a trader in the 1980s and '90s, was originally set to open Nov. 15, but Scorsese and longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker have not yet finished the movie, and making that date has long been considered impossible. A recent cut of the film came in at about three hours; Scorsese is in the process of trimming the film.
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The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort, and the cast includes Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey.
As for "Ryan," the Clancy-inspired film is likely to come out in the first quarter, possibly in late January. The movie, which saw new marketing materials released just several weeks ago and gained fresh interest in the wake of Clancy's recent death, will apparently now do battle in a less crowded but potentially less lucrative period.
Paramount could, of course, keep "Ryan" in December, though studios tend to maintain at least several weeks of distance between their big releases.
Paramount is expected to announce its new plans in the coming days.
The studio previously postponed the release of Scorsese's "Shutter Island" from 2009 to 2010, but that film was not considered an Oscar contender. Scorsese was an award-season player two years ago with the fall release of his 3-D period picture "Hugo."
"Wolf of Wall Street" was independently financed by Red Granite ("Friends With Kids," the upcoming "Out of the Furnace"), with Paramount serving as the film's domestic distributor.
A spokeswoman for Red Granite did not immediately return a call and e-mail seeking comment. Paramount declined to comment on the release plans for either film.
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