Any time a  movie gets pushed back it’s considered a bad thing. When a movie gets pushed back a full calendar year it sounds like a disaster. Cabin in the Woods, written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (who directed), has been pushed back one solid year until January 2011. But while you can feel free to be kind of annoyed that you have to wait another year to see this movie, don’t worry that it’s being moved because the film is bad. Since it’s not.

A couple of weeks ago I visited the editing bay of Cabin in the Woods and saw extensive scenes from the movie, saw creature designs and talked for a long time with Drew Goddard. While I have not seen the whole film, what I have seen (along with the script) has convinced me that Drew has made a damn good horror film that’s going to be lots of fun in totally unexpected and unique ways. And he’s made a damn good horror film that is full of awesome practical creature designs – one of the first things I asked him after seeing almost a half hour of footage was ‘Who has the merchandising license for this movie?’

The reason Cabin in the Woods is moving back a year is that MGM has decided to make it a 3D movie. Look, I’m not totally sold on 3D as anything but a gimmick, but the powers that be at MGM think that with the gimmick attached Cabin in the Woods has a real chance at breaking out and becoming a major mainstream hit. I think that’s a pretty reasonable assumption; I believe the movie will likely delight genre fans, but the lesson we learned with the excellent Drag Me To Hell is that sometimes it’s hard to get a movie sold beyond that genre fanbase.

The 3D process will take about six months. So why wait until January 2011? The simple answer is that there are not enough digital 3D screens in the country to get it out in a reasonable release before then. Right now new 3D releases are at the mercy of pre-booked slots, which is why a huge hit like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs lost a large number of its screens – the 3D screens had been pre-promised to someone else. This is why The Final Destination opened against Halloween 2 – Warner Bros wasn’t trying to school the Weinsteins (although they did), they just had no other choice for 3D screens. And with 3D being the big fad it has become, digital screens have been booking fast.

I think MGM would like to get the film into theaters before January 2011. And I think they may well screen it extensively before that date (it will be finished in time for Comic Con…), but to get the size of the release they want, it has to be January 2011. So while the bummer is that this film will not be out for a whole extra 12 months, the good news is that is not being buried. Remember, the 3D process isn’t cheap, so they wouldn’t spend all this dough on a movie they wanted to just sweep under the rug.