The Weinstein Company has quietly pushed back its CG-animated holiday flick Paddington yet again — this time off the Christmas frame altogether. The big-screen adaptation of the beloved UK children’s book character was primed to rake in holiday bucks by opening on Christmas Day but will now open on January 16, 2015.
That’s the second major delay to strike the project in recent months. Original Paddington voice star Colin Firth exited the project after Harvey Weinstein brought it to Cannes in May as part of TWC’s glitzy slate, forcing producers and director Paul King to find a new star. Originally set for a December 12 opening, Paddington was shifted to the crowded Christmas 2014 date during the summer, and Ben Whishaw came aboard to replace Firth.
Paddington will now miss out altogether on the holiday season, instead slipping into the January slot opposite Michael Mann’s spy pic Blackhat and Sony comedy The Wedding Ringer.
That January 15 date previously was occupied by TWC’s foosball acquisition Underdogs, another family film anchored by animation that can use the extra time. The Argentine-Spanish 3D animation directed by Juan J. Campanella opened at No. 1 at the Argentine box office last year and was picked up by TWC for North America, Australia, New Zealand and France. It now will open on April 10, 2015.
Before it can play to stateside audiences, however, Underdogs must undergo script changes and the integration of a new English-language voice cast that will include pop star Ariana Grande, Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Days Of Future Past), Matthew Morrison (Glee), Katie Holmes (The Giver), John Leguizamo (Chef), Eugenio Derbez (Instructions Not Included), Taran Killam (12 Years A Slave), Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live) and Chazz Palminteri (Rizzoli & Isles).
Underdogs now will compete against Fox’s The Longest Ride and Paramount’s The Moon And The Sun.
TWC’s not the only big game shuffling around its holiday films; today Paramount moved its Hot Tub Time Machine 2 sequel from December 25 to February 20, 2015, leaving Sony’s The Interview, Disney’s Into The Woods, and Universal’s Unbroken to duke it out this Christmas.