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‘Rumor’ fades justs as it starts

Troubled Warner pic sinks at B.O.

The “Rumor” mill grinds on.

With Warner’s romantic comedy “Rumor Has It…” taking in just $7 million in its opening frame, second-guessing quickly ramped up.

Not that Warners execs should have been surprised: Tracking data on the project — which Rob Reiner took over directing just 10 days into shooting when tyro helmer Ted Griffin was fired — showed the pic wasn’t likely to wow.

Griffin, who penned the screenplay, might be glad he got the boot.

Not so happy might be Reiner– who hasn’t seen a hit in some time, and who lately has been preoccupied by politics and his universal preschool initiative — and Section Eight, which produced the pic for Warners.

Critics lambasted Reiner for applying a shallow gloss to what was, at its heart, a quirky, indie-like script. One even quipped that Reiner directed “between naps.”

But some blame might rightly rest with Griffin, who decided to give the pic a mainstream feel in casting Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner and Shirley MacLaine. Mark Ruffalo was the only “indie” guy in the bunch.

You’d never guess from the utterly mainstream marketing and poster that the film picks up where “The Graduate” left off. Instead, you might think Aniston had landed a new post-“Friends” TV show.

Pic was to be released last April, but was pushed to December because it wasn’t ready. But in opting for a Christmas Day berth as counterprogramming, Warners put the film into competition with seven other wide releases.

With that kind of jostling, it’s no wonder this “Rumor” never got started.

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