Oliver Stone's 'Savages' Hot Enough For Summer

Savages Universal Art - H 2012

Savages Universal Art - H 2012

Universal moves up the release of the R-rated crime-drama--starring Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson--from Sept. 28 to July 6.

In a bold move, Universal is now planning a July 6th release for Oliver Stone's Savages, saying the film's action and heat are better suited for summer than for fall.

Set in Laguna Beach, the crime pic--originally set to open Sept. 28--stars Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson.

Savages is based on Don Winslow's book of the same name and follows two pot growers whose shared girlfriend is kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel.

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Universal made the move after screening the film last week. One studio insider said the movie, with its decidedly hard R rating, is more along the lines of a Pulp Fiction than a film like Traffic (Pulp Fiction stars John Travolta and Uma Thurman also star in Savages).

Savages' cast also includes Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Joel David Moore, Emile Hirsch and A Separation star Demian Bichir, who is nominated for the Oscar for best actor.

Universal is hoping that Stone's pic serves as counterprogramming to superhero tentpole The Amazing Spider-Man, which opens three days earlier on July 3.

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Moving up the release date also allows Universal to piggyback on the exposure Kitsch will receive for his starring role in two high-profile films, Disney's John Carter, which opens March 9, and Universal's own Battleship, which bows in theaters May 18.