Lots of little changes this week for Jason Segel's "Muppets" movie starring himself, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones and a bevy of cameos including Zach Galiafinakis, Emily Blunt, Ricky Gervais, Jack Black, Alan Arkin, Jean Claude Van Damme, but not fellow Apatow troupe member Paul Rudd (surely there will be many more cameos announced).
Once titled, "The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made," it was changed to simply "The Muppets," and now the Buena Vista/Disney film has changed its title once more, and you can now address it under its new moniker "The Muppet Movie."
Originally set for a Christmas Day, 2011 release, the studio must be feeling confident from the rushes they've seen, as the pic has now been bumped up a whole month to November 23. It's also a strategic move as well. December 2011 is a clusterfuck of blockbusters aimed at families all opening within days and weeks of each other including "The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn," "Hugo Cabret" and "Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" (yeah, that's what it's actually called) all set to compete with each other. The move now makes it pretty much open season for "The Muppet Movie" which won't have any major stiff competition. At least not so far. The only two films set for that Nov 23 date so far are, the Todd Phillips-produced "Project X" which is aimed at different demographic entirely and "Arthur Christmas (in 3D)" whose audience will skew younger than the one for the "The Muppet Movie."
In other release date changes or announcements we haven't covered, after poor feedback reviews, The Weinstein Company has decided to push "The Company Men" starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper into 2011, opening the film January 21. Not a good date, but in small show of faith, TWC will make sure the film gets an Oscar qualifying run (perhaps as a move to simply assuage egos). But those of us who have seen it will tell you, while it does feature some strong performances from all three of the aforementioned leads, none of them have much of an Oscar shot unfortunately.
Other recent dates we neglected to post recently are two films that are landing in September 2011. Dimension Films have set a September 22 date for the "Piranha 3DD" sequel (most ridiculous, yet awesome title, we hope that refers to the cup-size of the sheer inanity of it) and Fox have set a September 30 date for Andrew Niccol's sci-fi thriller "Now" starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy. That release pits the film against Roland Emmerich's period drama, "Anonymous" and Jim Sheridan's delayed "Dream House."
The latter date doesn't seem great, but with Niccol at the helm, its probably more of a thinking man's film and not suited for summer blockbuster season (plus that frame is choked full). While September feels like an iffy month box-office wise (almost every major film released in that frame in 2009 did underwhelming business that year) things picked up this year with "The Town" earning critical praise and box office bling, "Easy A" performing well above what analysts predicted and even an arty indie like "The American" far exceeding its limited expectations. [Deadline/Wrap/BOM]