Uni shifts 'Kingdom' to rise in fall

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In a sign of confidence, Universal Pictures has moved the action-thriller "The Kingdom" off its April 20 date in favor of a fall release.

After a successful research screening in Sacramento, the GE-owned studio has opted for a Sept. 28 release, hoping that an aggressive screening program will bring in broader audiences than a typical action-adventure film might lure.

Starring Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner and Chris Cooper, the film from director Peter Berg centers on an elite group of FBI agents sent to Saudi Arabia to investigate a deadly terrorist attack.

Universal domestic marketing president Adam Fogelson said that keeping "Kingdom" on April 20 would limit the potential upside of the film. No film, he said, with the exception of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," which bowed April 21, 2002, grossed more than $90 million when released in April, after the Easter holiday.

"It's really important that we have as much time as possible to expose people to this movie," Fogelson said. "We put it in a corridor where we can increase the upside."

Fogelson said that the move was not an effort to shift "Kingdom" into more favorable awards-consideration territory, though he admits that any nods would be a welcome byproduct. "This movie is going to be seen by a lot of people," he said. "People are going to talk to each other about this. I couldn't be more confident."

On Sept. 28, "Kingdom" will go up against Warner Bros. Pictures' "The Brave One," a Neil Jordan-directed thriller starring Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard. The frame before the Columbus Day holiday is coveted because its sophomore session will be boosted by the vacation day.

Warners could not be reached for comment by press time.
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