Wonder Woman 1984. Mulan. No Time to Die. Big-budget Hollywood films of all stripes are seeing their premiere dates delayed by as much as a year, thanks to the shuttering of movie theaters worldwide. But while industry execs have made the calculation that it’ll be more profitable to sit on action/adventure flicks for the time being until they can be released in big markets like China, smaller films, goofball comedies especially, are better positioned to skip a theatrical release altogether and make the leap to home streaming so that audiences can enjoy them right on schedule. Such is the case with Seth Rogen’s latest movie, An American Pickle, which will debut on HBO Max potentially as early as next month.
The film is based on a 2013 New Yorker novella by Simon Rich called Sell Out. In it, Herschel Greenbaum, an immigrant to New York City in 1920 and works as a laborer, falls into a vat of pickle brine and remains there for 100 years, perfectly preserved and unaged. (Sounds sort of like The Jungle, but madcap.) He emerges in modern-day Brooklyn seeking his family, but can only find one great-grandson, computer coder Ben Greenbaum—also played by Rogen. The fish-out-of-water hijinks that ensue are sure to delight. Only question is, will there be plenty of jokes about how someone who’s spent 100 years in a vat of pickle brine might smell to passersby? I’m hoping for an extended sequence that explores this!
Beyond the dual Rogens, An American Pickle has the potential to be pretty fun: Jorma Taccone and Sarah Snook are also in the cast, and the film is produced by frequent Rogen collaborator Evan Goldberg. It’s unclear if An American Pickle will be available as soon as HBO Max launches, or whether it’ll come sometime later; its original premiere date was scheduled for August 14. But knowing that a theatrical release would have delayed the film by a year, Rogen said of the small-screen debut, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be partnering with HBO Max to release this film. We worked very hard and put as much of ourselves in this story as possible. We’re very proud of the end result and we can’t wait for people to get to see it.”
For our part, we can’t wait to see another food-centric plot twist from the mind that brought us 2016's Sausage Party.