The term "Release Date Shuffle" can refer to a number of things. For instance, there was the 1971 single by Nikki and the Noise, a Phil Spector-produced girl band whose lead singer bears a striking resemblance to a certain reclusive movie blogger. The song, in which the girls lamented the wait for their baby to be released from prison, is regarded as something of a lost classic by Spector aficionados, but it was swiftly buried when, in a cruel twist of fate, one of the group's members was murdered by their boyfriend on his release from jail. Further back, the Release Date Shuffle was also a Victorian medical practice, designed to induce late pregnancies.
More pertinent to our purposes today, it's also what happens when movie studios faff around with the days on which their movies come out. Release dates can be key to box office success, and one film moving generally has a domino-like effect on those around. And so it goes with today's news, from Coming Soon, that Warner Bros have moved "Final Destination 5," the latest 3D installment of the enduringly popular kids-get-splattered-in-inventive-ways series, two weeks closer, from August 26th to August 12th.
It's a slightly tougher slot -- the film previously had the date to itself, to all intents and purposes, whereas now it's opening against the demographically similar "30 Minutes or Less" and "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," as well as the Emma Stone drama "The Help" -- but it makes sense, as it gives the film a weeks breathing room on the 3D screens before "Fright Night," "Conan" and "Spy Kids 4" hit on August 19th.
But it means that there's a vacant slot, and The Weinstein Company have stepped right up, shifting their found-footage space horror flick "Apollo 18" onto August 26th. The film was originally meant to open last week, but was shifted to the graveyard slot of January 6th 2012 at the last minute -- suggesting that the Timur Bekmambetov-produced picture was something of a dud. The late August slot isn't much better -- it's traditionally one of the slowest weekends of the year, but it at least means those of you drawn in by that terrible-looking trailer don't have as long to wait.
Coming Soon suggest that we might see a further change: The Weinsteins also have the all-star comedy "Our Idiot Brother" set to begin its limited roll-out, and it's fair to suggest that they may not want to split their not-infinite resources by opening two movies on the same day, even if one of them would be in a small number of theaters. But it's not totally unheard of: the two films aren't exactly cannibalizing each others audience. More as it develops.