With the news of the March 2012 launch of Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" comes a wave of rescheduling on the part of Fox, restructuring their 2011 and 2012 lineups for maximum strategic effect. The biggest changes emerge from the release date shuffling of prospective blockbusters "Mr. Popper's Penguins" and "Rise of the Apes," the former being bumped upwards, the other moving from a summer to a winter slot.
"Rise of the Apes" began in earnest with the release date cemented before shooting, so it's not a surprise that director Rupert Wyatt would need more time to finalize the effects-heavy film. As such, a June 24th release is now a November 23rd opening, a much safer Thanksgiving slot allowing 'Apes' to be arguably the biggest attraction of that period, matching up against "The Muppets," "Arthur Christmas" and the secret "Project X" comedy project Todd Phillips is masterminding for the WB. Of course, this is a week after "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One" and "Happy Feet 2," a massively competitive frame on its own.
Taking the place of Fox's June tentpole is Jim Carrey's "Mr. Popper's Penguins." Carrey was in the news recently for a hosting gig on "Saturday Night Live" that scored the show its highest 18-49 viewership in the last two years, so it makes sense that Fox would try to get the picture out asap. The Mark Waters family comedy, originally scheduled for August 12th, will now go head to head on June 17th with “Green Lantern” and Sony‘s “Bad Teacher,” a move that shows great confidence in Carrey’s continued ability to bring in families.
The most drastic schedule change is moving rom-com "What's Your Number" from April 29th to September 30th. The Anna Faris-Chris Evans pairing looked questionable before, but opening after Evans' "Captain America" repurposes the film as an Evans' star vehicle. "What's Your Number" opens against "Dream House" with Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, as well as wild cards "Anonymous," the Roland Emmerich costume drama, and Christian independent picture "Courageous."
David Gordon Green has two films coming out next year, one of which is "The Sitter." The film came together fairly quickly at the end of last year, and with Green's "Your Highness" set for release this spring, "The Sitter" moves to August 5th from a July 15th berth. This pits the Jonah Hill comedy against some heavy competition, with the Ryan Reynolds-Jason Bateman body-swap comedy "The Change-Up" and action-thriller "The Darkest Hour." August 3rd, meanwhile, is the release date for "The Smurfs."
Other changes include Andrew Niccol's "Now" moving from September 30th to October 28th, chick flick "Monte Carlo" abdicating the July 1st slot for August 12th, and birdwatching dramedy "The Big Year" earning an October 14th release. We wouldn't look too much into any of these release date shifts, as the widespread announcements are usually made to coordinate marketing campaigns and maximize the commercial potential of certain titles. [Box Office Mojo]