'Fantastic Four' Falls Back

by Brandon Gray
Jessica Alba in
Fantastic Four
February 7, 2005

Fantastic Four has been shifted to a July 8 release, 20th Century Fox informed Box Office Mojo. Fox's Marvel Comics superhero spectacle was scheduled for July 1, on a collision course with The War of the Worlds for Independence Day weekend. Last April, Fox selected the July 1 date, but the stakes were raised last August when Paramount's Steven Spielberg-directed Martian attack, a modern day adaptation of H.G. Wells' novel, claimed June 29.

Now, there will be no direct showdown between the mega-budget event pictures. Paramount stood its ground, cementing the date for The War of the Worlds with an ad during the Super Bowl. The frame following Independence Day weekend, though, has proven fertile ground for major blockbusters in the past, including Pirates of the Caribbean in 2003. Fox re-invigorated the comic book genre in 2000 with its mid-July release of Marvel's X-Men.

Fantastic Four is directed by Tim Story (Taxi) and features Ioan Gruffudd (King Arthur) as Mr. Fantastic, Jessica Alba as The Invisible Woman, Chris Evans (Cellular) as The Human Torch, Michael Chiklis (TV's The Shield) as The Thing and Julian McMahon (TV's Nip/Tuck) as Doctor Doom. It will now tee off on July 8 with Sony's Bewitched starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell.

Fox shuffled other movies on its schedule as well. The Martin Lawrence comedy Rebound becomes a summer contender, jumping from April 8 to July 22—opposite DreamWorks' sci-fi thriller The Island with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. The switch coincides with New Line bumping the Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn comedy The Wedding Crashers from July 22 to July 15.

Fever Pitch, a baseball-themed comedy with Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon, moves a week forward to fill in for Rebound on April 8. Roller-skating comedy Roll Bounce replaces Fantastic Four on Independence Day weekend, sliding from Sept. 16 to July 1 to counter-program against The War of the Worlds.

Elsewhere on the release schedule, Focus Features' genre division Rogue Pictures pushes Unleashed, the action drama starring Jet Li and Morgan Freeman, back from April 8 to May 13, an early summer date where it will face off with Lions Gate's ensemble drama Crash and Universal's Will Ferrell comedy Kicking and Screaming.

Click here to see the new dates for Fun with Dick and Jane, Cry Wolf, The Dukes of Hazzard and many more on the Release Schedule.

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