Netflix is doing the release date shuffle as the final months of 2023 roll in and the strike rolls on. However, unlike most production studios, which are starting to shuffle release dates back as the production shutdowns drag on, Netflix is moving some stuff forward as if to show off just how strike-proof it is as a service. It helps that both these titles are British and aimed towards a family audience, more than adult or kid-only fare. For fans of Roald Dahl, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar is becoming sooner than expected; however, for fans of Chicken Run, Dawn of the Nugget will slide back.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar recently got its debut at the Venice International Film Festival (and our review from that screening will be up ahead of its arrival in the U.S.), with critics hailing the short film as a great opening lead to the Dahliverse. (Matilda: The Musical, which premiered in December 2022, bore the Roald Dahl Universe label but was commissioned independently of the main project.) The original streaming date in the U.S. was set for the middle of October 2023, back at the beginning of August, but has now moved forward.
As part of Netflix's "Fall Film Slate" announcement, the film will open in theaters in limited release on Wednesday, September 20, and begin streaming a week later on Netflix on September 27, 2023.
Now for the less good news. Netflix initially announced it was teaming up with Aardman Entertainment, the company behind the stop motion animation Wallace and Gromit shorts and the hit feature film Chicken Run, in 2022. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget would be the first up on the slate for 2023, with Wallace and Gromit following in 2024. Dawn of the Nugget was initially announced for a November 10, 2023 release, but by July 2023, that was up in the air. (The Barbie-inspired posters, for example, notably were dateless.)
The company is holding it for a month, turning Chicken Run's return into a holiday/festive season release. The film's initial release at the BFI's London Film Festival is still on for October 14, but the movie won't follow on Netflix until Friday, December 15, 2023, and there's no theatrical release currently confirmed for the U.S. market. The latter isn't a big surprise; Netflix had never had one listed, though fans of the art form were hoping for a limited release on the big screen. But unfortunately, that means fans will have to wait a little longer to see the chickens come home to roost.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar stars Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog) as the titular character, Ralph Fiennes (James Bond) as the author Roald Dahl, along with Dev Patel (The Green Knight), Ben Kingsley (Jules), Rupert Friend (Anatomy of a Scandal), Asa Jennings (Sing 2), and Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd).
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget stars brand new additions Thandiwe Newton (Westworld) and Zachary Levi (Shazam) as central couple Ginger and Rocky, with Bella Ramsey (The Last of Us) voicing their daughter, Molly. The rest of the cast includes Jane Horrocks (AbFab), Imelda Staunton (The Crown), Lynn Ferguson (The Catherine Tate Show), Josie Sedgewick-Davies (Baby Brother), David Bradley (Doctor Who), Romesh Ranganathan (Avoidance), Daniel Mays (Magpie Murders), and Nick Mohammed (Ted Lasso).
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar arrives in theaters on Wednesday, September 20, and streams on Netflix a week later on September 27, 2023. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget arrives on Netflix on December 10, 2023.