Twentieth Century Fox has decided to stick to its original summer release date for Philip Kaufman’s detective drama “Rising Sun,” starring Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes, rather than move the picture up to Easter as contemplated.

Fox executive VP Tom Sherak confirmed that the decision was made to give Kaufman more time to finish his movie and the studio more time in which to screen the picture and launch a marketing campaign.

Keeping the picture in its summer slot “we felt would give us more time,” he said, noting, “A title like ‘Rising Sun’ is a big movie wherever it is, and we don’t want to rush something that doesn’t need to be rushed.”

While Sherak was noncommittal about an exact release date, Fox will presumably open the picture in the second half of the summer when there are fewer big titles. In addition to Fox’s own early summer movies, including “Hot Shots Part Deux,” other major guns to be released by rival studios in the first half of summer include Universal’s “Jurassic Park” (June 11), Columbia’s “The Last Action Hero” (June 18), TriStar’s “Cliffhanger” (May 28), Disney’s “Super Mario Brothers” (May 28) and Paramount’s “Sliver” (May 21) and “The Firm” (July 2).

Fox’s other early summer releases are “Once Upon a Forest” (tentatively Memorial Day weekend), “Rookie of the Year” (June 18) and “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” (July 29).

Sherak said when he and former Fox movie chief initially discussed release plans for “Rising Sun,” they saw it as a big summer title.

Subsequently, however, Roth rethought the idea and wanted it in spring, hoping it would have the kind of success Paramount’s “The Hunt for Red October” had when it opened March 1, 1991, after a pre-release advertising blitz on Super Bowl Sunday.

“I said let’s plan it that way, in March, and if it doesn’t make it we’ll go in the summer,” recalled Sherak. He said when it became clear that it would be “physically impossible” for Kaufman to get the film finished in time for an early March release, “the next thought was late March or beginning of April.”

Sherak said he didn’t blame Kaufman for wanting “Rising Sun” to be released in the less cluttered Easter window, but “he has agreed with us now, that the best thing was to go in the summer time.”

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