"Gravity," starring Sandra Bullock, will kick off the Venice Film Festival in August

Sandra Bullock stars in "Gravity," which will open the Venice Film Festival in August. (Warner Bros.)

"Gravity," the long-gestating project about an astronaut trapped in space, will kick off the Venice Film Festival.

The Warner Bros. production starring Sandra Bullock will premiere Aug. 28, festival organizers said Wednesday. The movie, which also features George Clooney, was directed by Alfonso Cuarón, whose “Y tu Mamá También” and “Children of Men" screened at the Italian event in years past. "Gravity," the first 3-D film to launch the festival, will not play in the competition.

While the Venice festival has long attracted some of Hollywood's biggest stars, the films that have played there have not always gone on to awards season glory. Last year, the fest opened with "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," a thriller from Indian director Mira Nair. The film about a young Pakistani man who heads to Wall Street did not go on to collect many accolades and also received mixed reviews from critics. "The Ides of March," the George Clooney-directed political drama starring Ryan Gosling, kicked off the festival in 2011 and subsequently earned four Golden Globe nominations and one Oscar nod.

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Hitting theaters in the U.S. on Oct. 4, "Gravity" follows a medical engineer (Bullock) and veteran astronaut (Clooney) who become marooned in space after their shuttle is destroyed. The movie has had a long road to the big screen. It was initially set up at Universal Pictures, and was meant to to star Angelina Jolie. It later found a home at Warner Bros., but in May 2012, the studio decided to push the movie's release date from November 2012 to fall of the following year.

Bullock, 48, is currently traveling the globe to promote "The Heat," her buddy cop comedy with Melissa McCarthy that has been performing surprisingly well at the domestic box office.

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