Couples tale built on baby-centered best-seller

Lionsgate has selected Mother’s Day weekend next year to release motherhood comedy “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

“Expecting” will open May 11, 2012, where it’s scheduled to go up against Paramount’s launch of “The Dictator,” starring Sacha Baron Cohen with Larry Charles directing, and Disney’s second weekend of “The Avengers,” directed by Joss Whedon.

Lionsgate and Phoenix Pictures are in talks with Cameron Diaz for the “Expecting” lead. Kirk Jones has been on board since March to direct.

The minimajor acquired feature rights to Heidi Murkoff’s bestseller from Phoenix Pictures early last year and signed Heather Hach — who was nine months pregnant at the time — to adapt from her pitch about the relationships of seven couples as they prepare for parenthood.

Shauna Cross (“Whip It”) had penned the final draft in which the focus is now on four interconnected couples, experiencing the thrills and surprises of having a baby.

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