Larry Charles documentary stars Bill Maher

Lionsgate’s world religions doc “Religulous,” helmed by Larry Charles (“Borat”) and starring Bill Maher, has been moved from an early summer release to Oct. 3.

Described as “the nonfiction film about the greatest fiction ever told,” doc was initially set for a dual release in Los Angeles and Gotham on June 20 and nationwide on July 2.

“Originally we liked the idea of positioning ‘Religulous’ as counterprogramming among the summer blockbusters, but we simply weren’t ready to premiere the film at Cannes or any other spring festival,” Lionsgate prexy Tom Ortenberg said. “We do feel that a film like this needs a big festival launch. We’re going to target some of the more prestigious fall fests. We want to emulate the box office success of films like ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ and ‘Sicko,’ which had major launches at prestigious fests where the films were lightning rods of a sort and created a stir within the media.”

Explaining his impetus to make the film, Maher said: “I wanted to make a documentary, and I wanted it to be funny. In fact, since there is nothing more ridiculous than the ancient mythological stories that live on as today’s religions, this movie would try to be a real knee-slapper. Unless, of course, you’re religious; then you might not like it.”

Pic is produced by Jonah Smith and Palmer West. TVA films holds Canadian rights for all media, and IM Global is the foreign sales agent.

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