U positions ‘Rocky’ for July punch

Moose-and-squirrel pic opening ahead of schedule

Universal Pictures has pushed the opening of “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” forward two weeks to the key June 30 slot to take advantage of potentially massive moviegoing during the five-day Fourth of July weekend.

Marketing president Marc Shmuger said the switch from July 14 stemmed from the fact that the other major openings set for the holiday weekend — Sony’s “The Patriot” and Warner Bros.’ “The Perfect Storm” — will seek different audiences from the family customers the moose-and-squirrel comedy could attract.

He noted that audiences have responded well to the first showings of the trailer for “Rocky,” which stars Robert De Niro, Rene Russo, Jason Alexander, Randy Quaid and Janeane Garofalo.

The movie will integrate live-action sequences with computer-generated versions of Rocky and Bullwinkle, produced by Industrial Light & Magic. Pic’s most direct competition will probably come from DreamWorks’ animated comedy “Chicken Run,” due out June 23.

Universal, which rang up surprise successes last summer with “The Mummy,” “Notting Hill” and “American Pie,” also has “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas,” “Head Over Heels” and “Nutty 2: The Klumps” on its summer slate.

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