! Update follows at the end

Movies get bounced around the release schedule all the time, but rarely is there as big and sudden a leap as Hollywood Pictures has made with their giant crocodile-but- we-want-you- to-think-it’s-a-serial-killer movie Primeval, which has moved from April to… January 12, two weeks from now!

That’s a big change, which is probably going to present a challenge to the publicity folks… assuming there will be any publicity. We just started running a “Design Your Own Poster” contest for the movie, which was pitched as aimed at getting early buzz for the picture, but now there won’t even be time for a junket – or possibly even screenings for critics. Which isn’t a huge surprise – it’s a giant crocodile movie, after all, and it was probably never fated to do well with Anthony Lane at the New Yorker.

I find myself wondering which of these scenarios is the truth: the studio thinks the movie isn’t that great and wants to dump it as soon as possible, and in a month that has been kind to low-rent horror films or if Disney, Hollywood’s parent company, just wants to get rid of a nasty, bloody film that has no place in its new streamlined, family blockbuster-only ethos. I hope for the second, because the only thing better than Orlando Jones getting et up by a crocodile is Orlando Jones getting et up by a crocodile in the most graphic way permissible by the MPAA.

UPDATED! Ravishing Ryan Rotten at Fangoria has the inside scoop on why Primeval moved: Hollywood/Disney wanted to get the film out of the way of the similarly-themed Rogue, directed by the guy behind Wolf Creek. That’s despite the fact that Rogue has no release date. Apparently, they were also worried about opening in the same general time period as Grindhouse. Click here to read Ryan’s report.