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JFK biopic's early release

JFK biopic’s early release — Why Oliver Stone is rushing to ready the film for a Christmas bow

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They’re as busy as Santa’s helpers over at Warner Bros., trying to make sure that Oliver Stone’s JFK, starring Kevin Costner, is ready for the holidays. And there’s plenty of readying to do, because the film was initially set for a February release. ”They have large editing teams working around the clock to get the picture finished,” Stone’s spokeswoman says.

Why the big push? Because Warner suddenly has a somewhat lackluster holiday roster. The studio recently admitted that Memoirs of an Invisible Man, its expensive Chevy Chase special-effects comedy, will be held until next year. And advance reports on Bruce Willis’ The Last Boy Scout say this action film will not help Willis recoup his box office fortunes.

So that leaves it up to JFK, an assassination-and-conspiracy drama that’s certain to be controversial. Warner is hoping to get a final print ready by Dec. 13, with a wide opening Dec. 20. But as Stone rushes to judgment with critics and audiences, will he find himself — as Francis Ford Coppola did with Godfather III last year — meeting his deadline only to regret it later? ”There’s been a certain amount of pushing,” admits Stone’s representative, ”but if Oliver had felt JFK should wait until March, he would have waited. He’s used to working fast.”