Spielberg's 'War Horse' Marches in Aug. 2011

by Ray Subers

May 3, 2010

Walt Disney Pictures announced this afternoon that the Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of children's book War Horse is now set to hit theaters Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011. The anti-war novel tells the story of a farm horse who is sold to the French Army during World War I, ultimately fighting for both the French and the German armies.

Mr. Spielberg and DreamWorks Studios purchased the rights to the book a few months ago, but there was no indication at the time that Spielberg would take on directing duties. Spielberg is currently in post-production on 3D motion capture movie The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn. Tintin is scheduled for Dec. 23, 2011, meaning War Horse will actually make it to theaters first.

While the earlier part of the twentieth century produced World War I classics like All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), A Farewell to Arms (1932) and The African Queen (1951), the last major World War I movie was Flyboys, which went down in flames in 2006. Hollywood has been far more focused on World War II. Spielberg himself has repeatedly visited World War II with 1941, Empire of the Sun, Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, and in miniseries Band of Brothers and The Pacific, but Iron Horse will be the first time that he has directed a movie set during World War I.

About an hour after the War Horse date announcement, Sony also added a movie to the same weekend, scheduling 30 Minutes or Less for Aug. 12, 2011. Plot details are being kept under wraps for the sophomore feature from Zombieland director Ruben Fleisher, but it's rumored to be an action adventure following a pizza deliveryman who gets in over his head with the wrong people. Names being tossed around for the lead include Danny McBride and Parks and Recreation's Aziz Ansari.

No other movies are currently scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 12, 2011, though Aug. 2011 has been filling up quickly, with The Smurfs (Aug. 3), The Change-Up (Aug. 5), Skank Robbers (Aug. 19) and Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (Aug. 19) already laying claim to dates.

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