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Bad timing for 'Trespass'

Critics claim a Christmas release date was wrong for the Ice-T film

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Remember Trespass, the shoot-’em-up starring Ice-T and Ice Cube? If you think you blinked and missed it, you’re right. In its first three weeks of release, the $15 million racially charged actioner made only $11.5 million, and producer Bob Gale (Back to the Future) blames the failure on Universal. ”Releasing it at Christmas was a major mistake,” he says. ”The content was not appropriate for the season.”

Questions of timing have haunted Trespass. Originally titled Looters, it was scheduled for a July release, but in the wake of April’s L.A. riots Universal postponed the premiere and changed the name. Gale says the studio then buried Trespass in the Christmas rush, skimped on marketing, and sold the film as a blaxploitation flick.

All of which is denied by marketing chief Si Kornblit, who insists Universal spent heavily on Trespass and ”did not target it like an ethnic film.” Adds a studio spokesman, ”Audiences didn’t like it as much as the critics did. The same thing would have happened no matter when it opened.”

Gale isn’t buying it: ”This movie has been the studio’s bastard child from the very beginning.”