Reboot of monster franchise moves to 2010

“The Wolfman” won’t howl this year as planned. Universal Pictures is moving the reboot of its classic monster franchise to early next year.

The horror pic, which stars Benicio Del Toro as the hairy shape-shifter, will now be released Feb. 12 and serve as counterprogramming to New Line’s romantic comedy “Valentine’s Day,” the Summit drama “Remember Me,” with “Twilight’s” Robert Pattinson toplining, and Disney’s 3-D re-release of “Beauty and the Beast.”

It’s the fourth date for “Wolfman” after roaming from Feb. 13 to April 3 and then Nov. 6 this year.

Despite the change, studio’s theme park still plans to heavily hype the property at its annual Halloween Horror Nights event.

“We have seen just how enormous first quarter movies can be,” said Adam Fogelson, president of marketing and distribution for U, citing the $215 million that studios generated on the February weekend this year, versus the $136 million that pics earned on the November date last year.

Marketers believe next year could become “a perfect storm” for distribs, considering Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday and will be closely followed by the President’s Day holiday, the next day.

The November slot will be taken by U’s alien-abduction drama “The Fourth Kind,” starring Milla Jovovich. It had previously not had a home on the release schedule. Studio picked it up from Gold Circle Films.

U also slotted new dates for four other pics, giving it one pic to unspool each month through the first half of next year, when also taking into account the Nancy Meyers comedy “It’s Complicated” (that opens Christmas Day and will play well into January) and the untitled Robin Hood actioner with Russell Crowe (May 14).

The other dates include:

  •  March 12 for “Green Zone,” the Paul Greengrass drama that reunites the helmer with Matt Damon.

    n An April 16 position for “MacGRUBER,” the Lorne Michaels comedy spun off from “Saturday Night Live” that Relativity is producing through its Rogue Pictures banner.

  •  A prime summer slot of June 11 for the Russell Brand comedy “Get Him to the Greek,” produced by Judd Apatow. U had previously succeeded with an early June date with “Knocked Up,” and Warner Bros. has struck gold with “The Hangover” this year. An April release had been previously eyed for the R-rated laffer. Fox has its adaptation of “The A-Team,” and Sony has its reboot of “The Karate Kid” on that date, as well.

  • A yet-to-be-chosen first quarter slot for the action thriller “Repo Men,” formerly known as “Repossession Mambo,” with Jude Law and Forest Whitaker.
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