Mouse pushes ‘Alamo’ to spring

Four-month delay due to unspecified post-prod'n work

HOLLYWOOD — Disney will be hoping moviegoers remember “The Alamo” in the spring.

Mouse said Tuesday it’s postponing the pic’s release until April to allow unspecified additional work on the historic actioner. Pic is said to be almost three hours long currently, with editing and other post-production still incomplete.

The move to spring from the lucrative holiday season is the latest challenge for “The Alamo,” which started life as a big-budget pic for Russell Crowe to star as the legendary Sam Houston and Ron Howard to direct. Originally envisioned as a gritty, R-rated epic, Disney decided the approach was too risky and pricey.

Crowe was replaced by Dennis Quaid and Howard bolted for John Lee Hancock, Quaid’s director on “The Rookie.” Co-stars include Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric and Patrick Wilson.

Production budget on the pic was reined in from $125 million to $80 million, with Mark Johnson installed as lead producer. Howard and his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer are also still credited as producers.

“The decision … was made at the request of filmmakers, who felt they needed additional time to complete this great movie,” Disney studio boss Dick Cook said of the move from a wide release Dec. 26 to a undesignated date in April. “Too often in Hollywood these days, release dates are set before a film has even completed shooting, and it forces the director into a situation that compromises their work.”

Said Hancock: “Post-production on an epic ensemble piece takes time, and no deadline, no prestige release date, no awards season is worth more to me than the movie being fantastic. I owe that to myself as well as the film.”

Release-sked jockeying in advance of the busy holiday season is common. On Tuesday, Miramax’s Dimension unit bounced “Bad Santa” back to November, whence it came.

Quirky laffer stars Billy Bob Thornton as a lovable-if-dysfunctional department store Santa. Pic was moved just two weeks ago from its original Nov. 21 perch to Dec. 25 due to concerns marketing would need more time to take hold.

Since then, “Santa” trailers attached to “Kill Bill, Vol. 1” and “Scary Movie 3” have general good audience awareness of the pic, a spokeswoman said. So the distrib decided again to reslot “Santa,” this time to Nov. 26.

(Michael Fleming and Cathy Dunkley contributed to this report.)

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