Summer shapes up

Mouse shifts 'Herbie'; 'Dogtown' skates in

Corrections were made to this article on Jan. 14, 2005.

Jockeying among the studios for summer release dates continues to be fierce, with shifting skeds creating new head-to-head battles.

This week, Disney announced it was pushing one of its major summer 2005 titles, “Herbie: Fully Loaded” starring Lindsay Lohan, from June 3 to June 24. Seeing an opportunity, Sony quickly moved its mid-budgeted Heath Ledger skateboard pic “The Lords of Dogtown” onto the date from June 10.

Mouse House also skedded a new summer entry. It will release superhero coming-of-age story “Sky High,” from “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” helmer Michael Mitchell, on Wednesday, July 27.

Disney distrib prexy Chuck Viane declined to discuss the strategy behind the move.

In the game of chess that is choosing summer release dates, no one likes to tip his hand too much, and further changes on the calendar are a certainty.

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“Herbie” will now go up against Jim Carrey remake “Fun With Dick and Jane” on June 24, and the move means the redo of the Disney car classic has only five days before two blockbuster wannabes are skedded to launch over the July Fourth holiday: Paramount’s Steven Spielberg-Tom Cruise sci-fier “War of the Worlds” bows June 29, followed by Fox’s “Fantastic Four” on July 1.

“Dogtown” will now go up against Universal’s Russell Crowe boxing drama “Cinderella Man,” which was once tipped as an Oscar contender for this year before production delays pushed the pic to 2005, and Warners’ “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” which has the narrower aim of enthralling the teen girl aud.

Sony distrib chief Rory Bruer said of the move, “We always liked June 3 for (‘Lords of Dogtown’), but it seemed crowded at the time. When ‘Herbie’ moved, it seemed like the perfect place to put it.”

Entry of “Sky High” turns the July 29 weekend into (for now) something of a B.O. demolition derby: Also opening that weekend is Paramount’s Cameron Crowe-helmed “Elizabethtown,” Warners’ potential franchise-launching title “The Dukes of Hazzard” and Sony’s Jamie Foxx-Josh Lucas-Jessica Biel action pic “Stealth,” helmed by Rob Cohen, whose past summer hits include “XXX” and “The Fast and the Furious.”

That makes for four films on the date that will be looking to draw young auds, though “Sky High” will be aiming younger than the other three.

Sony’s Bruer said the crowd doesn’t faze him. “We’re so high on ‘Stealth’ that we’re really comfortable,” he said.