There was a lot of headscratching when Sony moved Seven Pounds from December 12th to December 19th (after Paramount moved Benjamin Button to December 25th), especially when only one studio tentpole opened last weekend. Without a date change, Seven Pounds could have had two full weeks almost to itself. Yet Sony claims “we always wanted that date” to release Seven Pounds the same week that Will’s 2006 The Pursuit Of Happyness opened big before Xmas. But a rival studio with special knowledge of the situation tells me the date change was really because Will didn’t want to hurt his son Jaden’s new movie The Day The Earth Stood Still. (Jaden starred in The Pursuit Of Happyness with his dad, and has a major role in the Fox film that opened December 12th.) This is a recurring Smith family problem. You may recall that, over the summer, Will’s Hancock came out the same weekend as his daughter Willow’s Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. “I told her, ‘Daddy loves you sweetie, but I gots to stomp you at the box office,’ ” Will recounted at the time. But Hancock became a blockbuster, and Kittredge underperformed at the box office. So Will didn’t want to crush another of his children’s pics even if they’re targeted to different audiences. Who says there aren’t family values in Hollywood? But at the expense of the movie’s business?
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