‘BATTLE OF THE SEXES’ announced as 61st BFI London Film Festival American Express® Gala

The 61st BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® has this morning announced BATTLE OF THE SEXES as the American Express Gala at this year’s Festival.

Starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, the film will receive its European Premiere on Saturday 7 October at London’s Odeon Leicester Square, with Emma Stone, Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, and the legendary Billie Jean King expected to attend.

Alongside the event, there will be screenings of BATTLE OF THE SEXES, along with highlights from the festival premiere, taking place at cinemas across the UK on Tuesday 10 October.



In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the 1973 tennis match between women’s world champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-men’s-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world.

As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. The fiercely private King was not only championing for equality, but also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, as her friendship with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) developed. And Riggs, one of the first self-made media-age celebrities, wrestled with his gambling demons, at the expense of his family and wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue).

Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today.



Clare Stewart, BFI London Film Festival Director, says:

“We are delighted that Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton’s BATTLE OF THE SEXES will be this year’s American Express Gala. This playful, funny and moving film is a rousing tribute to Billie Jean King whose impact on gender politics was as powerful as her legendary forehand.”


Twentieth Century Fox will release the film across the UK and Ireland on 24 November. 

The 61st BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® takes place from Wednesday 4 October – Sunday 15 October 2017. The full Festival programme will be announced on Thursday 31 August 2017.

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