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'Fockers' moves to Christmas 2010; Matt Damon back in the summer

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Universal Pictures announced today a slew of date changes for its 2010 slate, moves that should help the industry in its heroic quest to meet the grosses from the record 2009 year. The studio is moving its third film in the Meet the Parents franchise Little Fockers out of the summer and into the holiday season, but will replace it with the Matt Damon-Emily Blunt film The Adjustment Bureau. Also, Universal now plans to release the Michael Cera comic-book adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. The World on August 13.

The moves make a lot of sense. The last two Bourne movies (Supremacy and Ultimatum) were both released in the summer and went on to make $176 million and $227 respectively. Adjustment Bureau, from Bourne screenwriter George Nolfi, is a thriller based on a story by Philip K Dick. While the storyline is compelling: Damon plays a rising politician who risks his future to be with the only woman he’s ever loved, the material does not have the kind of literary heat that Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series did. Still, if well executed it could be a hit for the summer. It will bow on July 30, opposite Warner Bros. animated family film Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.

As for Fockers, the film has wrapped, but any additional prep time the studio can secure for a movie with a cast including such big names as Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Robert De Niro has got to be a relief. Also, moving a big tent pole into the holiday season is a smart move considering industry watchers have been concerned that the 2010 Christmas season didn’t yet include any big meaty movies other than Tron: The Legacy. Both Meet the Parents (2000) and Meet the Fockers (2004) opened in the holiday season and earned $166 million and $279 million, respectively. Now we just have to hope the movies are good.

Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss/WireImage.com