Fox Hopes New 'Life of Pi' Date Formula for Success

Life of Pi Book Art 2011

Life of Pi

After Fox moved its initial release date to avoid "The Hobbit," the studio hopes the Ang Lee-directed fantasy film will fare better against "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2."

20th Century Fox is hoping to avoid the Christmas rush for its Ang Lee drama Life of Pi by moving the picture’s release date.

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The movie was due to open December 21 but will now open November 21.

The second half of December is incredibly loaded with big tentpole and star vehicles this year. December 14 sees the opening of Warner’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien book, and Universal’ musical Les Miserables. Fox previously moved the film away from December 14 to avoid competition with The Hobbit.

The week after sees Columbia unveil Kathryn Bigelow’s untitled thriller about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up sequel This Is 40 from Universal, and the Tom Cruise vehicle One Shot from Paramount.

And December 25, Warners will release Baz Luhrmann’s all-star version of The Great Gatsby go up against Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (both interestingly star Leonardo DiCaprio) plus Paramount’s Seth Rogen-Barbra Streisand road trip comedy Guilt Trip.

Fox had a Pi presentation at CinemaCon where the movie was very well received and left with awards-contender buzz.

November 21 at this stage has DreamWorks animations’ Rise of the Guardians, FilmDistrict’s release of the long-shelved Red Dawn remake and the Silver Linings Playbook from TWC.

By moving Pi to that date, Fox is giving the movie some breathing room and a chance to stand out. While it is based on a best-seller by Yann Martel, it doesn’t have the star power or spectacle of the other December releases.