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Zac Efron’s ‘The Lucky One’ Hits Aug. 24, 2012; ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ Checks In Mar. 9, 2012

Zac Efron's 'The Lucky One' Hits Aug. 24, 2012; 'Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' Checks In Mar. 9, 2012

A couple of updates to your calendar for next year, so get out your pencils.

First up, break out the hankies because Zac Efron is going to Iraq and will probably make you cry or something in “The Lucky One,” yet another adaptation of a soppy Nicholas Sparks book. Directed by Scott Hicks, who is best known for helming “Shine” with Geoffrey Rush (he also directed “Snow Falling on Cedars” and the terrible restaurant rom-com, “No Reservations“), the story follows a Marine (Efron) who survives three tours of duty in Iraq and attributes his good luck to a photograph he carries of a woman (Taylor Schilling) he doesn’t even know. When he returns to the States, he sets out to find her. Good Lord. Anyway, the film is being released on August 24, 2012 which isn’t exactly a vote of confidence from Warner Bros. (just see what’s opening this weekend). For now, that weekend is vacant but expect it to fill up with comedies and/or cheapie horror/thriller pics in the months to come.

Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight is preparing “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” for a spring date. Based on a British best-seller from “Tulip Fever” author and “Pride & Prejudice” screenwriter Deborah Moggach, the film boasts a lineup of veteran actors including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and, representing the younger generation, “Slumdog Millionaire” star Dev Patel. Directed by John Madden, the story centers around a entrepreneurial Indian executive who decides to start up a first-rate home for elderly British retirees. The art house shingle will surely be looking to replicate the success of other spring releases in the past like “Win Win” and “The Namesake” by pegging the film with a March 9th release date. Their only competition at the art house thus far on the date is from The Weinstein Company‘s “The Bully Project.” [BoxOfficeMojo]

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