Universal moves 'Fockers' to Christmas (updated)
The studio has delayed the release of "Little Fockers," the sequel to its hugely successful "Meet the Parents" and "Meet the Fockers" comedies to Dec. 22 from July 30.
The move gives Universal more time for post-production and tweaks on its big-budget comedy, which brings a new generation to the family, and also plugs a major hole in its holiday schedule. Universal had no films scheduled to come out during the lucrative Christmas season this year. Last year, the studio's romantic comedy "It's Complicated" opened on Christmas Day. It has sold about $100 million in tickets in the U.S. and Canada so far despite competing against "Avatar," "Sherlock Holmes" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel."
Christmas this year will be crowded as well. Other movies already scheduled to open between Wednesday, Dec. 22, and Friday, Dec. 24, include 20th Century Fox's adaptation of "Gulliver's Travels" starring Jack Black, Sony Pictures' action flick "The Green Hornet" starring Seth Rogen, and the Katherine Heigl romantic comedy "Life as We Know It."
During the 2004 Christmas holiday season, Universal debuted "Meet the Fockers," the second entry in the comedy series starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. The film went on to gross $279 million domestically.
To fill the July 30 spot previously held by "Little Fockers," the studio is moving in "The Adjustment Bureau," a sci-fi action movie starring Matt Damon based on a Philip K. Dick story that was previously undated. Universal has opened the last two "Bourne" action movies starring Damon, both of which sold more than $175 million in tickets in the U.S. and Canada, in late July or early August and is clearly hoping for similar mojo for "Bureau."
Also opening that weekend are Warner Bros.' family film "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore"; Paramount's romantic comedy "Morning Glory," starring Harrison Ford and Rachel McAdams; and "Beastly," CBS Films' retelling of "Beauty and the Beast," starring Vanessa Hudgens.
In addition, Universal has scheduled its previously undated Michael Cera comedy, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" for Aug. 13, where its major competition will be Sony's "Eat, Pray, Love," an adaptation of writer Elizabeth Gilbert's post-divorce memoir starring Julia Roberts.
All three of Universal's newly scheduled movies have completed production.
-- Ben Fritz
(This post was updated at 12:30 p.m. with a new description of "Little Fockers.")
Photo: Dustin Hoffman, left, Ben Stiller, Barbra Streisand, Teri Polo and Blythe Danner in 2004's "Meet the Fockers."