Movie release dates get pushed back all the time. It usually isn’t a big deal, and could be done for a number of reasons (although popular belief is that the movie blows). Remember when Lucky You, that Eric Bana/Drew Barrymore poker movie, got delayed 321 times? We neither. So it’s a testament to Tom Cruise’s utter fame, that the second delay of his next film Valkyrie is being treated like news. Normally relegated to the outhouses of fanboy sites and industry trade papers, Tommy’s latest setback has bloggers abuzz. Valkyrie is directed by Bryan Singer (who has spent the last decade directing films about men, both of the X and the Super variety), and it has Tom playing Nazi Col. Claus von Stauffenberg—odd for a man in the process of repairing his public image. But not so fast. Not all Nazis sucked. Tom’s is a “good Nazi,” who tried to assassinate The Bad One. Based on a true story.
Initially, the film was set to debut on July 4th, and was then moved to October 3rd to position it for prime Oscar contention, according to MGM. But we know it’s really because Will Smith’s Hancock comes out on July 2nd, and since Tom and Will are bros, they don’t like to weasel in on each other’s box office potential. But then, how do they explain this latest move to February 13th, 2009, a weekend shared by Confessions of a Shopaholic and the Friday the 13th remake? Here is Clark Woods, President of Domestic Distribution for MGM: “When an opening became available for President’s Day Weekend, we seized the opportunity. Having seen a lot of the film and how great it is going to play once it’s finished, moving into a big holiday weekend is the right move.” An opening was left behind by Benicio Del Toro’s Wolfman project, which was just moved from that date to April 3rd. Let’s also not forget that his is Valentine’s Day Weekend, meaning Cruise will certainly have some kind of Matthew McConaughey romantic comedy to contend with (we just checked and the Ghosts of Girlfriends Past comes out the week before). Popular consensus is that two delays means Valkyrie is a bust. But we’d like to think that Lions For Lambs was an anomaly, and that Mr. Cruise—he of the near-perfect box-office record—still knows how to pick ’em.