'Dogs,' 'Montana,' 'Persia' set release dates
With the writers strike resolved, Disney is the latest studio to rejigger and give more shape to its release calendar through 2009 and the early part of 2010.The Mouse House has staked out opening dates for a cluster of films, including laffer “Old Dogs,” filmmaker Walt Becker’s follow-up to sleeper box office hit “Wild Hogs.” “Dogs,” with a cast including John Travolta, Robin Williams and Seth Green, bows April 10, 2009. “Wild Hogs” opened in spring as well. In a counterprogramming maneuver, Disney’s “The Hannah Montana Movie” will debut May 1, 2009, opposite 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Looking to Thanksgiving 2009, futuristic cop actioner “Surrogates,” starring Bruce Willis, will unspool the weekend before the holiday on Nov. 20, 2009. During the Writers Guild walkout, studios weren’t in a position to begin rounding out their slates for 2009 or move pictures around, since continuity in the production pipeline was uncertain. Now, however, the majors are relatively confident that a new deal can be struck with actors without a walkout this summer. Last week, Paramount made a number of moves, including relocating J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” from Christmas to May 2009. Disney is the second studio to make a multitude of changes. It rejiggered release dates for titles including action-adventure “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” which will now open June 16, 2009, instead of July 10, 2009. The move means that “Prince of Persia” will open ahead of Par’s “Transformers 2” (June 26, 2009) and “Ice Age III” (July 1, 2009) vs. bowing in their wake. As a result of claiming May 1, 2009, for “Hannah Montana,” Disney moved 3-D pic “G-Force” out of that slot to July 24. That’s the second 3-D title to bow on that date after the Weinstein Co. horror entry “Piranha 3D.” The Mouse House also has decided to make Isla Fisher-Hugh Dancy romantic comedy “Confessions of a Shopaholic” its 2009 Valentine’s Day release, instead of Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy “The Proposal,” which will now be released Sept. 25, 2009 vs. Feb. 13, 2009, when “Proposal” debuts. Disney dated two other films: Sci-fi family adventure-comedy “Race to Witch Mountain,” starring Dwayne Johnson, will bow March 13, 2009, while Tim Burton’s 3-D “Alice in Wonderland” will unspool a year later, on March 19, 2010. In another tweak, Disney retitled two films: “South of the Border” (Sept. 26) becomes “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” while “High School Musical 3” (Oct. 24) becomes “High School Musical 3: Senior Year.” Meanwhile, Paramount has made an additional move on top of last week’s changes, moving back D.J. Caruso’s Shia LeBeouf thriller “Eagle Eye” one month, from Aug. 8 to Sept. 26. That gives Par some breathing room now that it’s releasing DreamWorks’ Ben Stiller laffer “Tropic Thunder” on Aug. 15. On the specialty side, the Weinstein Co. announced this week that it will bow 2008 Sundance acquisition “Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden,” the Morgan Spurlock docu generating plenty of buzz, on April 18.