Running a studio is a lot like playing chess. You really have to know how to utilize your pieces and position them for success, but also be aware of what the opposition is up to. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a pawn in order to make a bigger score, and sometimes gambles don't pay off. As such, people suspected that Universal was exposing a weakness when they yanked "The Thing" from its April release date for reshoots.
But news surfaced today that Universal announced an October 14th, 2011 release date for the prequel/remake/premake, smack dab in the middle of the scary season. There's no "Saw" sequel next fall, but the new date is only one week before "Paranormal Activity 3" throws its weight around. "The Thing" will arrive alongside Craig Brewer's "Footloose" and Paul Anderson's "The Three Musketeers," so it will certainly be a competitive frame, suggesting a lot of confidence in the product considering what kind of shape the studio is in.
Meanwhile, Sony announced a September 23rd release date for "Moneyball," a curious gesture considering the film is such an unusual project. An adaptation of the nonfiction book about unconventional baseball statisticians building a colorful Oakland A's roster, the film stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman and will likely be an awards-season player if director Bennett Miller ("Capote") can corral the script, which moved from Steve Zaillian to Aaron Sorkin to a host of other writers before eventually returning to Zaillian. November and December remain the hot periods for releasing awards-bait, but its likely Sony also wants to capitalize on the late-season playoff races. (Which the Oakland A's likely won't be a part of. Again.) "Moneyball" is currently slated to open against John Singleton's Taylor Lautner actioner "Abduction," which, we'll wager, won't be an awards picture.