Warner Bros. pushes back ‘Distance’

Barrymore-Long starrer to open on Labor Day weekend

Warner Bros. said Thursday that it has pushed back its Drew Barrymore-Justin Long starrer “Going the Distance,” from New Line, to Labor Day Weekend, adding a week’s distance from the pic’s original crowded launch pad on Aug. 27.

In its new date, pic may benefit from a hopeful counterprogramming bid, going up against Focus Features’ George Clooney espionage thriller “The American,” launching Wednesday, Sept. 1, followed by the high-octane, Robert Rodriguez-helmed “Machete,” which 20th Century Fox will bow that Friday.

“A week can make a big difference in our business,” said Warner exec VP of domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein. “And good movies will rise to the occasion.”

Still, the holiday rollout could pose a tougher sell for Warner, as auds may chose to spend the weekend outdoors. Labor Day traditionally reps the end to the summer box office.

“Distance,” directed by Nanette Burstein, follows a couple, played by Barrymore and Long, as they try to negotiate the challenges of a long-distance relationship.

Sony’s “Takers,” Lionsgate’s “The Last Exorcism,” as well as Fox’s re-release of box office champ “Avatar” are skedded to open on Aug. 27.

Also, a crammed slate on Aug. 20, including Fox’s “Vampires Suck,” Weinstein Co.’s “Piranha 3D,” Warner’s “Lottery Ticket,” Disney/Miramax’s “The Switch” and Universal’s “Nanny McPhee Returns,” could provide considerable competish in the pics’ second outing.

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