Paramount Pictures and Pathé have set a December 25 limited release on Ava DuVernay’s Civil Rights drama and potential awards contender. Separately, Open Road has picked up what is being described as the inspirational drama Little Boy.

Selma stars the UK’s in-demand David Oyelowo (pictured) as Martin Luther King Jr and charts the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama – a pivotal event in the battle for equality that led to President Johnson signing the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The film will open wide on January 9 2015, a timely slot that falls in the 50th anniversary year of the passage of the act.

Oprah Winfrey produces alongside Plan B and Cloud Eight Films’ Christian Colson and recently joined the cast.

She will play Annie Lee Cooper, an elderly woman who tried to register to vote and was unfairly denied by the sheriff. 

The film is currently shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, and Montgomery and Selma in Alabama.

The cast includes Tom Wilkinson as Lyndon Baines Johnson, Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Andre Holland, Omar J Dorsey, Alessandro Nivola, Dylan Baker, Giovanni Ribisi, among others.

Paramount will distribute in North America, while Pathé distributes directly in the UK and France and Pathé International handle remaining international sales.

  • Open Road has acquired US rights to Little Boy starring Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson and even-year-old newcomer Jakob Salvati. The story centres on a boy who will do whatever it takes to end WWII so his father can return home. Roma Downey and Mark Burnett of The Bible and Son Of God fame are producing. Alejandro Monteverde directs.