Calendar Watch: "Bourne Supremacy" Takes Place of "Thunderbirds"

In a continuing feature on the site, brings you a list of new release dates announced by the studios each week. This edition of “Calendar Watch” looks at the new dates set for “Scary Movie 3,” “Big Fish,” “Jersey Girl,” “Hellboy,” “Garfield” and “The Bourne Supremacy,” among others.

I’m Getting Tired of Writing Up Ben Stiller Films— “Duplex” Switches Into the October 3 Slot: What would an edition of Calendar Watch be without the move of a Ben Stiller film? The lucky winner of a date shift this week is “Duplex,” which moves back three weeks to fill the open slot now left “open” by “Scary Movie 3” on October 3. The film, which co-stars Drew Barrymore, uses the competitive New York City real estate as its driving theme— in it, a couple scheme to kill a sweet old lady in order to get the perfect home of their dreams. The big competition that weekend will be “School of Rock,” starring Stiller’s co-star Jack Black in the upcoming “Envy” (which itself was rumored to be heading straight-to-video this past week, since denied). I’d give the odds to “Rock” winning the weekend. And, seriously, if another Stiller film switches its date, I’m going to throw my laptop out the window.

“Scary Movie 3” Itches Closer to Halloween Release Date: Moving back three weeks to October 24 is the third installment of the “Scary Movie” franchise, perhaps a more appropriate date closer to the Halloween holiday. Although this sequel doesn’t involve the multiple talents from the Wayans family, the director here is David Zucker (“Airplane,” “The Naked Gun”) and spoofs “8 Mile,” “The Matrix: Reloaded,” “The Ring,” “The Others,” “The Hulk” and “Signs.” The biggest threat for the Dimension Films release its opening weekend is “Gothika,” as well as the second weekend of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” The comedy spoof should easily win both its opening weekend and the weekend following, but the two other films will surely eat into its box office tally.

Much-Anticipated Tim Burton Flick “Big Fish” Finally Scheduled for Thanksgiving Slot: Columbia Pictures has finally given Tim Burton’s “Big Fish” a release date, and it’s a good omen: November 26, the day before Thanksgiving. The tale of an Alabama braggart as he lay dying on his deathbed, the film follows a son re-telling the fantastical tales his father claimed to have lived, including one involving a giant fish. It’s now slated to go up against “Haunted Mansion” and both should be able to find an audience, with their different focuses. Also scheduled to open that weekend is “Bad Santa” and “Timeline.” This should end up coming in third behind “Timelines” and “Mansion,” as well as have a healthy run in December and beyond.

Not Fazed by the Grosses of “Gigli,” “Jersey Girl” Settles Into March: Right now I’m looking at the grosses for “Gigli” last night and chuckling over the $185 average per theater average that the film is pulling just six days after its release. Kevin Smith’s latest endeavor, which reteams Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez from the aforementioned debacle, settles in at the March 19 date. I’m not necessarily sure that announcing this move was the best thing for Miramax Films to do this week, but it’s now slotted—which I’m sure the director’s followers of View Askew will be happy about, although he had anticipated a February release. Right now it’s only scheduled competition is “Ned Kelly.” I have a feeling this film will easily outgross the $3.75 take “Gigli” had its opening weekend. This all said, there are some doubts that this will actually be the film’s final release date, as there indications that the studio may make another switch within a week…but this is where it is scheduled to be released as of the moment.

“The Breakup Handbook” Moved to Second Quarter 2004: Sony/Screen Gems announced that it had moved back Jamie Foxx’s “The Breakup Handbook” to either a April, May or June 2004 opening from a previously-announced first quarter release. The film focuses on a man who writes a book about how to deal with the repercussions of the break-up process after being dumped by his fiancee. Sure to please the literati, the book by Foxx’s character becomes a bestseller.

Never Really Understood Why This Was a Summer Release Anyway— “Hellboy” Moves to April: Sony Pictures and production company Revolution Studios announced earlier this week that “Hellboy” has moved from May 21 to an April 2 opening date. This move makes a lot of sense to me, as I really don’t see it expanding too far beyond its comic book fanbase. The film focuses on the child of Satan, Hellboy, who becomes an investigator of the paranormal, seeking out the man who brought him to this physical plane. Uh, okay. This will probably be a cult video success more than anything else, as the lack of a marquee star attached to the project and the comic not all that well-known outside of comic circles not allowing this to translate into box office gold for the distributor, in my opinion. Good move by Sony in now positioning this title correctly.

Denzel’s “Man on Fire” Scheduled for April 23: Denzel Washington’s “Man on Fire,” based on the novel of the same name by A.J. Quinnell (and already once adapted to film, in 1987), makes its first appearance on the release schedule as an April 23 opener. A dark tale, the film focuses on a former U.S. Marine who becomes a bodyguard for a wealthy Mexico City-based family of Americans that has been receiving kidnapping threats. When their 10-year-old daughter is kidnapped and murdered, the soldier-turned-guard promises vengeance to those responsible for the crime. This should do well at the box office with this release date, although the content and a certain R rating might not make it a strong winner there.

She Certainly Doesn’t Look “13”— May 28 is When Jennifer Garner Turns “30”: Following on what looks to be a successful box office run with “Freaky Friday” (it grossed a reported $6 million on Wednesday, its opening night), Sony and Revolution Studios wasted no time in getting “13 Going on 30” on the schedule as a May 28 release. While “Friday” is about a mother and daughter switching bodies, this comedy starring Jennifer Garner as a 13-year-old suddenly finding herself at age 30 after making a wish to be popular. This was previously scheduled as a first quarter release and looks like a good bet for families in May— although that market looks to be quite saturated there right now with “Shrek 2,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Garfield” all opening around this date and pulling in families. Sony needs to promote this one heavily in order to break through the clutter and the heavily-recognizable properties it is going up against. As it looks right now, “30” should end up being the third-best performer of these films, behind “Potter” and the “Shrek” sequel.

Finally Realizing It Will Get Crushed in May, “Garfield” Moves to Mid-June: Am I the only one who thinks this film could be a giant bomb, a la “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle?” 20th Century Fox wisely pulls “Garfield” out of the crossfire of a heavyweight May calendar and moves it to June 18, in order to distance itself from the films listed above. This film reportedly has the lasagna-loving tabby cat rescuing his pal Odie from an evil dog trainer. Breckin Meyer stars as Jon Arbuckle, while Bill Murray gives voice to Garfield. Even coming two weeks after “Potter,” I still feel like this is doomed to miss at the box office.

Universal Takes Away July 23 Date From “Thunderbirds,” Now Put in Summer Limbo: Will a live-action feature based on a 1960s British TV show that starred marionettes do well at the summer box officer I dunno, but people seem pretty jazzed about it. It doesn’t look as if Universal is quite as enthused, as it has backed off a July 23 opening date, moving the film to the unscheduled purgatory that is summer 2004, as in ‘yet to be definitively scheduled.’ The film focuses on an ex-astronaut and his five sons who form a rescue team called International Rescue, nicknamed “The Thunderbirds,” more than 50 years in the future. Expect this one to be rescheduled soon, perhaps later in the summer— I could see this working as an August release.

Although Filming Has Yet to Happen, “The Bourne Supremacy “ Gets July 23 Date: Universal has Pictures has announced that the sequel to “The Bourne Identity,” “The Bourne Supremacy” is to open July 23. Filming is not definitively yet set to begin – other than as a fall/late 2003 start to principal photography – but I’m guessing it’s going to be a tight race to finish the film up in time. Matt Damon looks set to return to the title role and, if this book follows the Robert Ludlum book it is based upon (the first stripped out a great deal), will find Jason Bourne in China to find out who murdered a Chinese politician, leaving a calling card that makes many thing it is Bourne himself. I am begging Universal to stick closer to the 1986 Ludlum book this is based on—Doug Liman, who directed the first but is not returning to helm, absolutely butchered the Ludlum novel. Butchered it. This could be a great film and build upon the box office success of the first film… if they stick close to the book.

2004 Oscar Contender “An Unfinished Life” To Be Released on Christmas Day 2004: Filming wrapped a month ago for a film that looks to be an Oscar contender in 2004. Mirroring that, “An Unifinished Life” has been given a nice release date of December 25, 2004. Other films that are already scheduled for that date include “King Arthur” and “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” based on the Lemony Snicket novels. The film focuses on an impoverished and abused mother who moves in with her estranged father-in-law on a Wyoming ranch with her pre-teen daughter. The film stars Jennifer Lopez and Robert Redford and, with Miramax Films distributing, is most likely going to get a big promotional push for awards consideration. These dates come from Exhibitor Relations Co., which provides schedule information to theater exhibitors.