Inside Move: U is in play for ‘Gray’

Studio undecided, face dilemmas on release date

Universal is angling to take over the domestic distribution of FilmFour’s Cate Blanchett-Billy Crudup starrer “Charlotte Gray” from Warner Bros. Pictures — the first title from the FilmFour/Warners co-production pact.

U picked up foreign rights outside the U.K. on the romancer shortly after FilmFour and Warners signed their pact in May 2000. In recent weeks, all parties saw and liked director Gillian Armstrong’s cut, but U is especially eager to take it out for 2001 Oscar qualification.

Although Warners originally planned to give “Charlotte” a limited release in December for just that purpose, the studio has not decided whether to release the pic this year or in first quarter 2002. Warners is facing a number of dilemmas on the date, none of which would change with a studio swap.

Not only will Blanchett, who is pregnant, be unavailable to do any press before February, but she also stands to serve as her own competition in MGM’s “Bandits,” out Oct. 12, and in two touted Miramax titles: “Heaven” (Dec. 7) and “The Shipping News” (Dec. 25). She’s also part of New Line Cinema’s “Lord of the Rings” ensemble that will bow Dec. 19 with “The Fellowship of the Ring.”

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