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NOV
12
8 MOS

Kellan Lutz Beats Dwayne Johnson to the Punch as First 'Hercules' to Hit Theaters

Could timing be everything for dueling movies about the muscle-bound god?

Hollywood's upcoming battle of the Hercules -- to mix warrior legends for a moment -- is a decidedly David versus Goliath affair.

Now comes news that the slighter of these two muscle-bound screen gods (in budget, at least) might have a crucial advantage, as Summit has acquired Hercules: The Legend Begins and slated it for a February release.

The underdog stars Twilight beefcake Kellan Lutz and was directed by Renny Harlin, who hasn't had a hit since the 1990s when he peaked with action blockbusters like Die Hard 2 and The Long Kiss Goodnight. It stands in the immense shadow of Hercules: The Thracian Wars, a Radical Studios graphic novel adaptation from director Brett Ratner starring proven box-office superstar Dwayne Johnson, for which MGM and Paramount are sharing a $100 million-plus price tag.

COVER STORY: How Director Brett Ratner Evolved From Party Boy to $450 Million Warner Bros. Mogul

But Legend Begins has been scooped up by the Lionsgate-owned studio for a Feb. 7 release, Summit has announced. That gives it a nearly six-month head start on Ratner's film, which opens on July 25.

Consider what happened with a similar face-off, this one between a pair of White House invasion movies: Olympus Has Fallen, released in March 2013, clobbered the far pricier White House Down, which bowed in late June. As that example proves, timing can prove crucial -- something not lost on Legend Begins producer Avi Lerner, who not-too-subtly references the scheduling advantage in a statement announcing the deal.

VIDEO: Kellan Lutz Wields Lightning Whip in 'Hercules: The Legend Begins' Trailer  

Says Lerner, "I'm very pleased that ours will be the first movie in the 21st century to reintroduce modern audiences to this classic, timeless story."

Legend Begins will share the Feb. 7 release date with Warner Bros.' The Lego Movie and George Clooney's Monuments Men.