MGM is rescheduling the release of the Luca Guadagnino directed TV series Challengers, starring Zendaya. The R-rated tennis drama was set to have an excitement-filled Venice Film Festival premiere before a theatrical release on September 15, but now has been pushed way further than anticipated. Apparently, the show will also be skipping the Venice Film Festival where it was slated to be the opening night feature.
When will ‘Challengers’ be out and why is it skipping the Venice Film Festival?
Challengers, which was initially scheduled to have an exciting debut at the Venice Film Festival followed by mid September theatrical release, will now launch in cinemas on April 26, 2024. Simultaneously it will also be bowing out as the opening night feature at Venice, which runs August 30-September 9, and has been already replaced with director Edoardo De Angelis’ Comandante.
As the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strike continues, many projects are being pushed back from their original release dates. With the actors banned from promoting their new films or pushing out any promotional material, many projects are at a standstill – and for this exact reason, Challengers has backed out of it’s Venice Film Festival debut premiere. “How do you go to Venice without Zendaya supporting?” commented one source close to the matter.
What is ‘Challengers’ about?
The drama series follows Zendaya as a former tennis prodigy Tashi Duncan, who is now a coach that transformed her husband Art into a champion. When Art (played by Mike Faist) is on a losing streak, “she makes him play a challenger event” which is equivalent to the almost-lowest level of a pro tournament. He ends up competing against washed-up and “burnt-out” Patrick (Josh O’Connor), who is Art’s former best friend and Tashi’s ex. As both their past and present suddenly collide, Duncan is made to ask herself exactly what lengths she’s willing to go to in order to win.
Amy Pascal (through her brand, Pascal Pictures) as well as Guadagnino and Zendaya, are producing Challengers. The script was written by playwright-singer-author Justin Kuritzkes and was included on the 2021 Black List, which is a collection of the year’s “most liked” unproduced scripts and screenplays.