Summer 2005: According to Variety, Sony Pictures will try to kick off the summer season next year in late April with XXX: State of the Union, which has been moved to April 29th from May 13th.
Move of the "XXX" sequel (original grossed $142 million in 2002 with an Aug. 9 release) shows that as studios ponder the increasing crowded summer calendar, they feel more comfortable moving into late April rather than late August.
"There's been a lot of success in expanding summer earlier," said Sony vice chair Jeff Blake, "and a little less success in extending summer later."
On its new date, "XXX" goes up against New Line's The Wedding Crashers and Warner Bros.' House of Wax. The move makes Universal's Will Ferrell soccer laffer Kicking and Screaming the only wide release skedded for the second week of May. In between the two dates is 20th Century Fox's Ridley Scott crusades epic tentpole Kingdom of Heaven.
Sony has also moved its still untitled Bernie Mac-Ashton Kutcher laffer out of the traditional summer corridor to March 18, a week before Easter, off its original June 3 date, which is still crowded with two Disney pics, Herbie and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as well as Warners' Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Arguably, its new date is even more crowded, as studios look to capitalize on an early Easter. Also slated for March 18 is Russell Crowe starrer and Ron Howard-helmed Cinderella Man, Warners' Sandra Bullock sequel Miss Congeniality 2, Disney's Ice Princess, which was recently moved to that date from a holiday launch, and Fox Searchlight's Woody Allen pic Melinda and Melinda.
Sony also announced a June 10 release for Heath Ledger pic Lords of Dogtown, based on the 1970s Santa Monica-Venice skateboard scene.
In other moves for the first quarter, 20th Century Fox has moved Robert De Niro thriller Hide and Seek to Jan. 28 and off April 8, and has skedded Cameron Diaz's femme friendly comedy In Her Shoes for April 15. Meanwhile, Paramount has officially said Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown should be ready to bow sometime in the first quarter next year.