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Foxcatcher to be released to theaters Dec. 20 by Sony Pictures Classics

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For college wrestling fans, it’s an eagerly-awaited present just in time for Christmas.

Foxcatcher -- the much-anticipated movie about legendary wrestling brothers Mark and Dave Schultz -- now has a release date... and a new distributor.

The film will be released Dec. 20, 2013 under the Sony Pictures Classics banner, according to The Hollywood Reporter Thursday.

Originally Foxcatcher had been announced as being released by Sony's Columbia Pictures.

The Hollywood Reporter describes the Dec. 20 date as "a prime perch for an awards run."

That release schedule -- in time for Oscar consideration in 2014 -- is in keeping with the credentials of Foxcatcher director Bennett Miller.

Miller has directed only two previous features -- Capote in 2005, and Moneyball in 2011 -- but each was nominated for the best picture Oscar, among numerous other Oscar honors.

In describing Foxcatcher, The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “The film...recounts the true story of an Olympic wrestling champion (Mark Schultz) whose brother (Dave Schultz), a fellow Olympian, was murdered by a paranoid schizophrenic millionaire (John du Pont)..."

The film stars Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz, and Steve Carell as du Pont, the millionaire owner of the Foxcatcher wrestling facility outside Philadelphia who murdered Dave Schultz in Jan. 1996.

Both Schultz brothers earned gold medals in freestyle at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. In addition, each had successful collegiate mat careers. Elder brother Dave Schultz was a three-time NCAA All-American (one year at Oklahoma State, twice at University of Oklahoma), winning the 167-pound title for the Sooners in 1982. Mark Schultz was a three-time NCAA Division I champ for Oklahoma (1981-83).

In striving to provide a realistic portrayal of wrestling, Ruffalo, a wrestler in high school, worked with former college wrestlers John Guira (Wisconsin), Jesse Jantzen (Harvard), and four-time Olympic medalist Bruce Baumgartner. In addition, the movie hired real-world referee Fred Feeney to play an on-the-mat official in a Mark Schultz match at the 1988 Seoul Olympics vs. Turkish matman Necmi Gencalp, played by former American University wrestler Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov who is now an assistant coach at Harvard

Meet some of the real-life wrestlers who are featured in Foxcatcher... with a photo album/list at College Wrestling Examiner.

Want to know more...

UPDATE: On Sept. 4, the amateur wrestling website InterMat reported that a new documentary on Dave Schultz is in the works, a project of his widow Nancy Schultz, and filmmaker Jon Greenhalgh.

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