At the age of 68, Martin Scorsese will be busting two cherries this year- his first family film, and his first 3D release (Luhrmann isn’t the first prestige director to dive into the third dimension). The film is of course: The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which will now be known simply as Hugo Cabret, will bow earlier than expected on November 23rd, and will be a Paramount release.

The title change and studio shift aren’t too surprising- films will sometimes shift distributors depending on the needs of the film and slates of the studio, while title changes happen even more frequently. Perhaps they caught on to the fact that whimsical fantasy films with possessive pronoun titles aren’t often all that successful, be they passive or active (sirs Parnassus and Magorium come to mind). What is interesting is the date change though, from December 9th to November 23rd.

It’s an unavoidable fact for every major film that this year is rather packed- that said, Paramount has taken the ballsy (and hopefully confidence-confirming) step of moving Hugo to right before Thanksgiving weekend, and putting it into competition with four other films. This is what the weekend will look like:

Hugo Cabret
The Muppets
Arthur Christmas
Rise of the Apes

Possible Todd Phillips Comedy (the Project X thing)

The original December 9th date would have only put the film up against New Year’s Eve, but the next weekend would have been even more grueling as it tried to weather Alvin & The Chipmunks, Mission Impossible 4, and Sherlock Holmes 2. The studio must be confident they can use 3D, Scorsese’s name, and the book pedigree to carve out most of that first packed weekend, enjoy a clearer 2nd weekend, and have made most of its money before those other three majors hit and split the demos.

I can see how this would be regarded as a shrewd move, but I’m not the Box Office expert Damon is, so I’ll keep my commentary to that. Hopefully at the end of the day these events are the result of Scorsese having crafted a solid family film out of the multi-format children’s book, and the studio positioning themselves with that in mind. We should be due for a trailer sometime in the foreseeable future- so keep your eyes peeled.

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