George Clooney movies going head to head

'Men Who Stare at Goats,' 'Up in the Air' release dates set

The always-crowded holiday movie season has its first controversy, with rival studios each slotting a George Clooney movie within a week of one another and nobody happy about the situation.

At this point, Overture has "The Men Who Stare at Goats" -- a war-themed dark comedy -- set for wide release on Nov. 6. One week later, Paramount has a limited opening penciled in for "Up in the Air," a dramatic comedy that generated big positive buzz at the recent Toronto International Film Festival.

Clooney numbers among producers on "Goats," directed by multihyphenate Grant Heslov. Perhaps for that reason, it appears its release date is sticking, while "Air" is almost certain to move from its Nov. 13 slot.

"We're on Nov. 6 and have no plans to change that," Overture exec vp distribution Kyle Davies said. "We're confident in our movie and confident in the date."

Par had no comment on the situation. But precise plans for its Clooney pic appear, well, up in the air.

Informed speculation suggests "Air" is likely to move back a couple weeks to a limited release on Nov. 27 and a wide expansion during the Christmas period. Alternately, the Jason Reitman-helmed film could get a wide bow in late November.

Either of those moves would avoid an awkward overlap of the pics' respective advertising campaigns. A later date for "Air" also would allow a more orderly transition for Clooney in his tubthumping for the films.

"Air" is considered the more commercial of the two movies, but either could figure in award-season campaigning. “Air” was originally set for a December release but was moved up in a previous round of slot jockeying.