How interesting that Warner Bros. has just moved up the release of Leo DiCaprio’s Blood Diamond from December 15th to December 8th. Usually, these dates are carefully calculated based on what else is opening, so making a last-minute change like this is unusual. Especially when director Ed Zwick, producer Paula Weinstein and others are huddled in London trying to put the finishing touches like music on the film. The studio, which has started showing it around, claims it made the move “in response to strong reactions from early screening audiences” and “building positive buzz.” Actually, I think it’s a risky move for box office but a smart play for Oscar chatter. One thing is for sure: it’ll have a lot more rivalry on its new opening day. On the 15th, Blood Diamond‘s main competition was only The Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will Smith in an Oscar-touted dramatic turn (Sony’s gonna be thrillled their pic now has that date almost to itself). Small movies like Venus and Painted Veil also were opening. Now, on the 8th, Blood Diamond goes up against some big guns: Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, and George Clooney’s The Good German from Steve Soderbergh (in limited run), and Cameron Diaz’s The Holiday from Nancy Meyers, as well as smaller pic Breaking and Entering. One box office guru explained: “I think it was praise of Pursuit of Happyness 12/15 . Trouble is, The Holiday on 12/8 is good, too. They think they can beat Apocalypto in the drama department.”
Dec. 8: Leo vs George, Cammy & Mel Now
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