Release Date Shuffles for Universal Films

It’s that time of year when 2010 Oscar prospects get inexplicably moved to early releases in the following year and rumors abound about the films’ quality. Such speculation is never usually valid because there is always a good reason for a film’s push back whether it be post-production troubles, too much competition, or better schedules for the actors to do interviews.

Universal Pictures has announced some new release dates and some release date changes. The biggest change comes for George Nolfi’s The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. That film is getting pushed back from September of 2010 all the way to March 4, 2011. The movement is in no way an indication of the film’s quality and the film was not a likely Oscar contender anyway. The early Spring release date will allow for it to pick up some of the pre-Summer Box Office that can be quite lucrative.

The horror film The Night Chronicles: Devil from Drew and John Erick Dowdle will be released September 17, 2010. The film is about a group of people stuck in an elevator and is based on a story by M. Night Shyamalan. The Dowdle brothers previously wrote and directed the 2008 American REC remake, Quarantine. The Night Chronicles: Devil will likely play to the pre-Halloween horror fans.

Also in the thriller genre from another duo of directing brothers is the film Skyline from Colin and Greg Strause. The film is about supernatural forces causing disappearances in a small town. The film’s release date will also bank on the Halloween horror craze with a November 12, 2010 opening.

The Universal comedy Kids in America, formerly known as Young Americans, will get a December 3, 2010 release date. The film stars Topher Grace as a meandering college graduate who struggles to control his newly discovered adult responsibilities. Anna Faris plays his twin sister in the film, which is directed by Michael Dowse. It has a great release date, but don’t expect any Oscar chatter for this one.

The Dark Fields will start off Universal’s 2011 release calendar with a January 21, 2011 opening. That film has an excellent cast that features Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Anna Friel, and Abbie Cornish with direction by The Illusionist‘s Neil Burger. The film is a pharmaceutical thriller where an everyman gets mixed up with the use of a mysterious drug that affects his entire life. This could be an excellent start to the new year or one of 2011’s first throwaways.

James Cameron follows up his hugely successful Avatar by producing the underwater thriller Sanctum to be released February 4, 2011. The film stars Richard Roxburgh, Alice Parkinson, and Rhys Wakefield as a team of underwater cave divers who experience terror on an expedition. It seems to fit James Cameron’s love for everything under the sea.

The final announcement comes for Greg Mottola’s Paul, which is pushed to March 18, 2010. The film is written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the team from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and it stars Seth Rogen as an alien that is encountered by two comic book geeks. The film does not sound like a major awards contender, but it does sound like it could contain some of the fast-paced fun that we saw in Pegg and Frost’s previous efforts.

Care to make any predictions about which 2010 Awards contenders will pull a Shutter Island and push back their release?

[Source: Deadline Hollywood]

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