In what must be one of the most shocking strategies in recent months, Paramount Pictures has moved the release date of “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” from March 2, 2012 to January 2013.
Though the film is completed and is now in post-production, and promotion for it showed signs of kicking off in December last year, the studio has had a change of heart, Deadline reports.
It's not uncommon for movie studios to move the release date of one film depending on interest in it and the release schedule of competing studios, but to have a release pushed back by a year must be a first.
To have this happen less than two months before the film was supposed to drop is even more of a shocking occurrence.
Deadline says the reason for the decision is to be found in leading man Jeremy Renner's agenda for 2012: he will be much more high-profile this time next year.
“Hansel and Gretel” stars Gemma Arterton and Renner as the leads, the grown up versions of the characters from the classic tale.
They are now witch hunters, having decided to pursue this path after escaping the evil witch we're also familiar with from the story.
Renner, for those who didn't see him in the Oscar-winning “Hurt Locker,” was also seen recently in Tom Cruise's “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” but Paramount believes he needs more exposure to carry the new film.
So, they've decided to wait until “The Bourne Legacy” and “The Avengers” are also out: this way, come 2013, no one will be able to say they don't know who Renner is.
“This should really set up the international,” a studio executive says for Deadline.
“Jeremy Renner’s international profile should be in great shape after being in Mission: Impossible 4 now, then The Avengers in May, then The Bourne Legacy in August,” the industry insider underlines.
The success of “The Devil Inside” this past weekend at the box office, when it topped even the most optimistic expectations of the movie studio, was also part of the reason: January is no longer a “dumping ground.”
“As this past weekend shows, January is great play time internationally, and we haven’t done too bad domestically in January, either,” the exec says.