Universal Pictures pushes back release of 'The Wolf Man,' yet again
Universal Pictures is once again pushing back the release date of its big-budget monster movie "The Wolf Man," now to Feb. 12, some three months after the studio last planned to debut the remake directed by Joe Johnston and starring Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Anthony Hopkins.
This is the fourth release date for the picture, which has had a rocky history with extensive re-shoots earlier this year and a switch of directors early on in the project when Mark Romanek left over budgetary issues.
The first release date for the picture, which cost about $112 million, was Feb. 9, 2009. Universal then pushed it back to April 3, and then again to Nov. 6.
Universal's marketing and distribution chief, Adam Fogelson, said the latest release change was motivated by two factors: to take advantage of a potentially bigger box office weekend, and to have more visual effects completed in time for marketing materials. The first batch of effects will be featured in the movie's upcoming trailer, which will accompany Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" when it's released Aug. 21.
Although February used to be considered by Hollywood a graveyard month to release films, Fogelson says that in recent years it has turned out to be advantageous, especially over the long Presidents Day holiday weekend.
But one person close to the movie says a big contributing factor was that Universal was "very worried" about competing against Summit Entertainment's "Twilight" sequel "New Moon," a story about vampires versus werewolves that comes out in November.
Another possible reason: Universal, which has had a cold streak at the box office, may not want to unleash another huge marketing expense this year.
Fogelson, however, flatly refutes those notions.
"Neither were ever part of our discussions," he says. "The only conversation was, 'How do you get the biggest possible result on this movie?' "
-- Claudia Eller
Photo: The Wolf Man, on a bad day; Credit: Universal Pictures