'Solace' moves closer to Turkey Day

Rescheduling of Bond film tied to 'Harry Potter' departure

Harry split the scene, so 007 moved in for the kill.

Sony's Columbia Pictures and MGM said Thursday that the next James Bond film, "Quantum of Solace," will move back one week to Nov. 14. That move is closely tied to the previous departure of Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" from its Nov. 21 release berth.

Just last week, the sixth "Potter" film newly planted its domestic flag on July 17 as executives sought to fill a hole in Warners' summer 2009 slate. The most immediate response to that move was Summit Entertainment moving its youth-targeted vampire film "Twilight" up three weeks into the vacated "Potter" slot.

Now Sony execs -- who have had been wishing for a release date closer to Thanksgiving and the holiday boxoffice season for their next Bond release -- have taken "Solace" to a suddenly much more attractive slot. After all, Bond's previous perch on Nov. 7 was intended to maximize pre-"Potter" playtime.

Scratch that worry.

" 'Harry Potter' moving out gave us an opportunity to get a little closer to the holidays, which has always been the traditional Bond spot," Sony worldwide marketing and distribution chairman Jeff Blake said. "Bond has a really good history of not only playing through Thanksgiving but going deep into the Christmas holidays."

Sony unspooled the most recent Bond film, "Casino Royale," on Nov. 17, 2006, and the Daniel Craig starrer still was playing in about 1,100 theaters between the following Christmas and New Year's, Blake noted.

Sony, which is a minority stake owner of MGM, holds worldwide theatrical rights to the two most recent Bond movies, with longtime Bond franchise co-owner MGM controlling all post-theatrical windows. (The other co-owner of the Bond oeuvre is the Broccoli family's Eon Prods.)

Three other domestic wide releases are set for Nov. 14: Fox's Baz Luhrmann-helmed adventure "Australia," starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman; the MGM comedy "Soul Men," toplined by Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac; and Overture's Freddy Rodriguez starrer "Nothing Like the Holidays."

Universal's comedy "Role Models," with Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, also had been set for Nov. 14. But just a few hours after word spread of Sony's move with its Bond film, Universal moved the comedy up one week to Nov. 7, where the Paramount-distributed DreamWorks Animation sequel "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" now represents its sole wide rival.

Besides "Twilight," two other domestic wide releases are set for Nov. 21. Those include "Bolt" from Disney -- which always has a big release bowing over the Turkey Day play period -- and DreamWorks/Paramount's "The Soloist," a drama about the relationship between Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) and a violin-playing homeless man (Jamie Foxx).

Internationally, Bond films tend to get an earlier jump in the U.K. So "Solace" will get a world premiere Oct. 29 in London, followed two days later by its U.K. opening.

Sony said Prince William and Prince Harry will attend the world premiere.