Fox aims for out-of-school kids with date change

Hoping to get kids squeaking early, 20th Century Fox will now open “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel” on Dec. 23, instead of Christmas Day.

Studio said more than 76% of kids will be out of school by the Wednesday before Christmas, as opposed to 66% on Monday and Tuesday.

But move means Fox is releasing its two year-end tentpoles less than a week apart. On Dec. 18, Fox unspools James Cameron’s 3D epic “Avatar.”

“Alvin’s” new release date allows it to get a jump on Christmas weekend, when competition for eyeballs will be fierce between new entries and holdovers (“Alvin” has the advantage of being the only kiddie pic in the marketplace).

Opening wide on Dec. 25 are Warner Bros.’ Robert Downey Jr.-Jude Law starrer “Sherlock Holmes” and Universal’s Nancy Meyers comedy “It’s Complicated,” starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.

Two films also go wide on Dec. 25; Paramount’s George Clooney topliner “Up in the Air,” directed by Jason Reitman and opening in a limited run on Dec. 24, and the Weinstein Co.’s musical “Nine,” directed by Rob Marshall. “Nine” begins its limited run on Dec. 18.

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