LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Harry split the scene, so 007 moved in for the kill.
Sony on Thursday moved its next James Bond film, “Quantum of Solace,” back one week to November 14. That move is closely tied to the departure of Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” from the November 21 release berth.
Just last week, the sixth “Potter” film newly planted its domestic flag on July 17, as executives sought to fill a hole in Warners’ summer 2009 slate. The most immediate response to that move was Summit Entertainment’s decision to move its youth-targeted vampire film “Twilight” up three weeks into the vacated “Potter” slot.
Now Sony executives — who had been wishing for a release date closer to Thanksgiving and the holiday boxoffice season for their next Bond release — have taken “Solace” to a suddenly much more attractive slot. Bond’s previous perch, on November 7, was intended to maximize pre-“Potter” playtime.
Scratch that worry.
“‘Harry Potter’ moving out gave us an opportunity to get a little closer to the holidays, which has always been the traditional Bond spot,” Sony worldwide marketing and distribution chairman Jeff Blake said. “Bond has a really good history of not only playing through Thanksgiving but going deep into the Christmas holidays.”
Sony unspooled the last Bond film, the Daniel Craig-starring “Casino Royale,” on November 17, 2006, and it was still playing in about 1,100 theaters between Christmas and New Year’s, Blake noted.
Sony holds worldwide theatrical rights to the Eon-produced Bond franchise, with longtime Bond distributor MGM controlling all post-theatrical windows.
Three other domestic wide releases are set for November 14 — Fox’s Baz Luhrmann-helmed adventure “Australia,” starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman; the MGM comedy “Soul Men,” toplined by Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac; and Overture’s Freddy Rodriguez-starring “Nothing Like the Holidays.”
Universal’s comedy “Role Models,” with Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, also had been set for November 14. But just a few hours after word spread of Sony’s move with its Bond film, Universal moved the comedy up one week to November 7, where the Paramount-distributed DreamWorks Animation sequel “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” now represents its sole wide-release rival.
Besides “Twilight,” two other domestic wide releases are set for November 21. Those include “Bolt” from Disney — which always has a big release bowing over the Turkey Day play period — and DreamWorks/Paramount’s “The Soloist,” a drama about the relationship between Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) and a violin-playing homeless man (Jamie Foxx).
Bond films tend to get an earlier jump in the U.K., and “Solace” will receive its world premiere October 29 in London, two days before its U.K. opening.
“Prince William and Prince Harry will attend the world premiere,” Sony said.