Universal Pictures Pushes Back ‘Wanted’ Release Date From Spring to Summer 2008

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Universal Pictures announced on Wednesday it is pushing back the release date of the hotly anticipated film “Wanted,” which has filmed in Chicago, from the spring to the summer of 2008.

Angelina Jolie in Wanted
Angelina Jolie in “Wanted”.
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

The decision was made due to mounting competition on the weekend of its original selection. Initially slated to release on March 28, 2008, the film is now scheduled to open on June 27, 2008 to rival Pixar’s “Wall-E,” “What Happens in Vegas…” and Tom Cruise’s “Valkyrie”.

“After an early look at ‘Wanted,’ we are certain it fulfills its promise as a stunning, committed, thrilling and eye-popping vision that introduces a bold new narrative,” said Universal Pictures president of distribution Nikki Rocco in the Wednesday statement.

She added: “We believe it can stand shoulder to shoulder with the event titles of the summer and will give audiences a chance to discover a fresh [and] new alternative.”

David O'Hara in Wanted
David O’Hara in “Wanted”.
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

While Superhero Hype! calls the announcement a “surprise,” it’s certainly obvious to me that Universal feels it can better dominate that June weekend.

But will it? While the Superhero Hype! report says the March 28 weekend is “starting to get rather crowed,” that begs the question: crowded with what other films? The March weekend also features the likes of:

“21” (with Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth and Laurence Fishburne)
“My Brother is an Only Child” (an Italian film)
“Run, Fat Boy, Run” (directed by David Schwimmer)
“Stop-Loss” (with Ryan Phillippe)
“Superhero!” (with Leslie Nielsen, Sara Paxton and Brent Spiner from “Star Trek”)

James McAvoy in Wanted
James McAvoy in “Wanted”.
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

It’s fair to say even in the more “crowded” weekend that “Wanted” currently has the most brand recognition among those titles and also features among the most star-studded cast (with James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie and Common).

While its June weekend has less rivalry by number of films, those films are more widely known and serve as greater box-office threats. The March weekend offers more film competition by number of films but with less visibility. I question the merit of this switch.

“Wanted,” which is the first English-language film helmed by Russian director Timur Bekmambetov, is based upon Mark Millar’s explosive graphic novel series.

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