The release of TriStar’s “The Mask of Zorro” has been moved from December to March. The venerable swashbuckling tale, starring Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins, was scheduled for Dec. 19, the date Paramount’s “Titanic” finally weighed anchor on last week.

However, steering clear of “Titanic” is likely a secondary reason for the date change. “Zorro,” like the oceangoing epic filmed in Mexico, ran into production problems and wound up extending its shooting schedule and going significantly over budget.

Even more strategically important, parent Sony has a weak first quarter 1998, meaning it could benefit from an event picture. It currently has the high-profile space adventure “Starship Troopers” and Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt in “Old Friends” slotted in this year’s Thanksgiving-Christmas corridor.

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