Despite the film's flag-waving themes, it's hard to attract an adult audience
Nicolas Cage
Credit: Nicolas Cage: Anacleto Anacleto/L.A. Times/Retna

Several studios have delayed films that might upset audiences in the wake of Sept. 11, but MGM has bumped one of its movies because of concerns that audiences might not even know it’s out there. ”Windtalkers,” the John Woo-directed drama about the role of Navajo Marines in World War II starring Nicolas Cage, has been moved from this November to June despite the fact, says MGM’s vice chairman/COO Chris McGurk, that it’s ”patriotic and has a positive message.”

Marketing the movie, and attracting the film’s 25-and-up target audience, is too risky right now, says McGurk, who believes that MGM’s disappointing opening of ”Bandits” was largely due to older, educated moviegoers choosing to stay close to their TVs to watch the breaking news about anthrax. Explains McGurk: ”This is an unstable market with the probability of networks going dark with news coverage,” which not only keeps audiences out of theaters, but movie advertisements off television. (An additional seven months will also give ”Windtalkers” a little more distance from Cage’s WWII flop ”Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.”) As for the June 14 release date, says McGurk, ”If the market is still unstable, well, then we’ll have a lot more problems than the release of this movie.”

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