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'Green Hornet' vs. 'Green Lantern' dispute led to change in release date

January 13, 2011 |  7:35 am

GreenHornet If Sony Pictures had gotten its way, "The Green Hornet" wouldn't be coming out this weekend.

After delaying the big-budget superhero movie starring Seth Rogen from the summer to allow time for a 3-D conversion, Sony had hoped to release it in March, when many students are out of school for spring break. But rival Warner Bros. didn't like that plan.

The reason: Its 3-D superhero movie "Green Lantern" was already scheduled to come out in June. Releasing two movies in the same genre with similar titles three months apart could be damaging due to consumer confusion, Warner Bros. executives argued in arbitration overseen by the Motion Picture Assn of America.

The MPAA ruled in Warner Bros.' favor, people familiar with the situation said, and the two studios subsequently agreed that a five-month span would be adequate.

That was just one of many troubles "The Green Hornet" faced on its way to the big screen. Now, however, the unlikely action-comedy hybrid is set for a strong box-office opening this weekend and could turn out to be a hit, surprising perhaps nobody more than executives at Sony.

Read more on the troubles faced by the picture and how its commercial prospects turned around: "After shaky start, 'The Green Hornet' is poised for a strong opening."

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Jay Chou and Seth Rogen in "The Green Hornet." Credit: Sony Pictures