UA, MGM push back ‘Valkyrie’

Release date changed from Oct. 3 to Feb. 13

United Artists and MGM have pushed back the release of Bryan Singer’s Tom Cruise starrer “Valkyrie” from Oct. 3 to Feb. 13.

Move marks the second date change for the WWII actioner and another delay for the revamped label headed by Cruise and Paula Wagner.

The new UA’s debut pic, the war-themed drama “Lions for Lambs,” proved to be a box office disappointment last year, generating $15 million domestically and $42 million overseas.

UA has high hopes for “Valkyrie,” which had originally been set to open June 27 but was pushed back late last year to allow Singer enough time to complete the film. The helmer’s set to shoot three final scenes next month.

Now, with an early 2009 bow, pic has moved out of awards season consideration — but into a slot with more box office potential, given recent performance. Clark Woods, MGM prexy of domestic distribution, said the studio wanted to take advantage of an opening in the schedule for the Presidents Day weekend.

The current lineup for that frame includes Disney’s “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and New Line’s “Friday the 13th” but Sony’s “Pink Panther 2” and Universal’s “Wolfman” both recently vacated that date. The “Panther” sequel is set for Feb. 6; “Wolfman” will launch April 3.

“Valkyrie,” Singer’s first film since “Superman Returns,” is based on a real-life plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, with Cruise portraying a German officer. Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Eddie Izzard, Christian Berkel, Thomas Kretschmann, Terence Stamp and Carice Van Houten also star.

Cruise and producing partner Wagner revived the UA label in 2006. Since then, the pair have put a number of projects into development, including the Jessica Biel starrer “Die a Little” and the sci-fi actioner “The Champions,” with Guillermo del Toro attached to direct.

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