Calendar Watch: "Dirty Dancing 2," "Welcome to Mooseport" Get 2004 Release Dates

In a new feature on the site, we at FilmJerk.com will be bringing you a list of new release dates announced by the studios each week. This first edition of Calendar Watch looks at the changes made by 21 films, both major releases and indies. Included in this edition is news on “What a Girl Wants,” “Torque,” “School of Rock,” “Havana Nights: Dirty Dancing 2” and “The Human Stain.”

“What a Girl Wants”: Despite reports last week, “What a Girl Wants” is not moving up a week from April 4 to a March 28 release– this is sticking as a April 4 release. This film showcases Amanda Byrnes as a 19-year-old Manhattan girl who decides that she wants to find her long-lost British father (Firth) in London, who’s part of a very hoity-toity British aristocratic social circle. Picture “The Princess Diaries” with a trans-Atlantic twist.

“Torque”: After being jettisoned to the fall, the motorcycle-racing picture has been moved up to April 4, three weeks away. The second to feature the sport this year– the first was “Biker Boyz,” which had a lukewarm reception at the box office– this focuses on a long-time biker (played by Martin Hernderson) who is framed by a long-time rival. With rival bikers (including Ice Cube) and the FBI after him, he must make a run for it.

“Butterfly Effect”: Ashton Kutcher’s next, which was to have originally been an April release, now moves to September 12th with an undetermined amount of theaters (this could be a limited release). In moving away from his comedy roots, Kutcher plays a young man struggling with the effects of hidden childhood memories, finds himself able to travel back in time. Each trip back has unintended results, leading him to travel back again and again, attempting to repair the damage he’s only making worse. Reportedly having angles of child pornography and prison rape, this won’t be for the majority of Kutcher’s devoted fanbase.

“School of Rock”: This Jack Black/Richard Linklater film is being pushed back from its current July 11th slate to open during an unnamed date on the fall schedule. Playing a rock guitarist/singer, Black takes a job as a 4th grade substitute teacher at an uptight private school after being kicked out of his band. Comedy ensues as he tries to make one child his project back to the major arenas.

“The Touch”: Originally an August 2002 release in Asia, this film is pushed back from its August 2003 release to 2004’s first quarter. The story of a Chinese family of circus acrobats, they are searching for a stolen mystical artifact. Most likely already selling on DVD in the streets of Manhattan.

“Welcome to Mooseport”: Ray Romano’s first big feature hasn’t even started filming yet (it will start lensing this spring, but it has been blessed with a release date: February 13th, 2004. The film focuses on a former President of the United States (as yet uncast) who settles down in a small coastal New England town to write his memoirs. He’s soon asked to run for town mayor and finds himself locked in a fierce political battle with the local hardware store owner (Romano), rivaling the most contentious fights of his career.

“Havana Nights: Dirty Dancing 2”: Originally having been announced as hitting the big screen on November 21, Artisan Entertainment and Miramax Films have blinked, with filming only just underway now. They are now releasing this film on February 13, 2004, targeting the Valentine’s Day weekend. The studio has made a good choice, as the brand name will help carry the film. The sequel, which has no direct ties to the original in terms of characters, focuses on an American girl who moves to Cuba in the days right before the Revolution with her parents, where she soon meets a charming and talented local dancer, who encourages her to discover her natural dancing abilities.

“The Human Stain”: Based on Philip Roth’s 2000 novel, the film is now positioned as a fourth-quarter 2003 release. Starring Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman, it was previously listed as a TBA 2003 platform release. Filming for this project wrapped last May, and centers on a college professor (himself a light-skinned African-American) embroiled in a racial controversy, which causes his life to crumble as other discretions come to light. (Editor’s Note: It was originally reported the film was a fourth quarter 2004 release, but we have since learned differently. We apologize for this error.)

Films Opening Limited

Among other films with new release dates that will be opening limited: “People I Know,” starring Al Pacino as a embattled New York publicist involved in a mystery, opens two days earlier than previously scheduled (April 23 in New York and Los Angeles); “Prozac Nation,” which was pulled from a release today only four days ago and is based upon Elizabeth Wutzel’s memoirs, gets a release in major markets on June 6; “And Now…Ladies and Gentlemen,” the closing film of last year’s Cannes that stars Jeremy Irons, opens on August 8; the ensemble “The United States of Leland” (including Kevin Spacey, Don Cheadle and Ryan Gosling) targets a September 12 release; Robert Downey Jr.’s well-received “The Singing Detective” plants down itself at October 24.

Also getting new release dates are “Valentin” moving a week earlier to June 27 in New York and Los Angeles, “Northfork” is shifting to a July 11 opening (previously set for June 20), “The Station Agent” boards a October 3 date in New York and Los Angeles, “Grind” gets a definitive release date of August 22nd and “My Baby’s Mama” finally gets rescheduled for the third quarter. “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” moves out of its mid-October release date for an ominous “Coming Soon,” as does “The Reckoning,” which was previously scheduled for September.

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