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Sony shifts Australian ‘Solace’ date

Bond pic moved to avoid clash with 'Australia'

Sony Pictures Releasing has shifted its Oz release date for James Bond “The Quantum of Solace” to Nov. 19, a week earlier than scheduled to avoid a clash with “Australia.”

Fox recently postponed by two weeks its release of Baz Luhrmann’s outback epic, toplined by Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, which with the result that the two biggest pics of the quarter were pegged for release on Nov. 26 and Nov. 27.

Clash was a source of grief among exhibs and other distribs, whose pics didn’t stand a chance for screen time amid such prominent titles.

Announcing the “Solace” shift on the closing night of the Australian International Movie confab, Sony’s Oz topper Stephen Basil-Jones said Thursday his studio had capitulated to Fox “for the benefit of the industry.”

“It’s important ‘Australia’ does well,” said Basil-Jones, a reference to the dismal recent track record of Oz movies.

Bond thesp Daniel Craig will now attend a Sydney preem on Nov. 15.

The clashing release dates had drawn salvos between Sony and Fox at the confab attended by 800 exhibs, distribbers and allied trades on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Basil-Jones said Fox’s decision to shift the release date was “predatory,” “mean-spirited” and “arrogant,” while Fox Asia Pacific m.d. Sunder Kimatrai was unrepentant: “We’ve chosen our date and that’s that.”