DreamWorks and Disney have finalized release dates for five films on their slate. After a confab in London last week with Disney’s international and domestic marketing managers and DreamWorks brass–who showed footage from five films including Steven Spielberg’s World War I epic War Horse, which is currently filming in England–Disney moved the DreamWorks slate onto new dates. (DreamWorks’ films go out through Disney’s Touchstone label.)
Spielberg’s PG-13 family film War Horse moves from August 12 to December 28, 2011, as a bonafide holiday release which could yield awards potential. “The movie feels like a holiday movie,” said Stacey Snider on a conference call with press. “He feels great about it. We feel great about it.” This means that Disney/DreamWorks will be sharing PR time with Sony/Paramount’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, the collaboration between director Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson, which rolls out internationally in October and hits North America December 23. “We think there’s room for a couple of holiday movies during that season,” said Snider, who hopes that War Horse, “a love story between a boy and his horse,” adapted by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis from Michael Morpurgo’s novel and subsequent West End stage hit, will play well into January. “It’s a big market at that time of year.”
Moving into the August 12 slot is The Help, a Chris-Columbus produced 60s period piece starring rising actress Emma Stone and Viola Davis in a story exploring upstairs-downstairs relationships between white women and their black maids. “Historically that has been a great date for women’s event movies like Eat Pray Love,” said Snider, “after the summer blockbusters have gone through the market.”
Also moving is Hugh Jackman starrer Real Steel, because its date, November 18, was getting crowded, said Snider. Given that the movie is not based on pre-existing material–always a marketing challenge these days–DreamWorks and Disney agreed to move to October 7 Shawn Levy’s 2020 robot boxing father-son drama about “two lost souls who find their way from the bottom rung of a new sport to the top,” said Snider, who showed Disney 25 minutes of footage. “For us to be able to establish it was important, which will give us play time. We think the movie will have legs. It’s not just movie about robots fighting and boxing. It has heart, great performances, it’s about redemption.”
DreamWorks and Disney settled on August 19 to open Craig Gillespie’s teen comedy vampire flick Fright Night, starring Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Toni Collette and David Tennant in a rare 3-D release for Spielberg and Snider. The film was shot in 3-D, reminded Snider, who compared the remake to Zombieland. She wanted “summer playtime when 3-D screens were available. It’s fun and scary, we wanted to maximize it in 3-D, where it creates added value.”
Producer Michael Bay and director D.J. Caruso’s action thriller Who Is Number Four, starring alex Pettyfer and Timothy Olyphant, will go out as planned on February 18, 2011.