It must be a dark day in the Hudgens-Efron household.
Universal's recent decision to move Zac Efron's weepie "Charlie St. Cloud" from Oct 15 to July 30 has left CBS Films' "Beastly," starring Vanessa Hudgens and also slated to premiere on that date, losing a game of "High School Musical" chairs.
The summer weekend apparently isn't big enough to support celluloid offerings from both members of the real-life couple.
Not wishing to be derailed by the Efron train, the fledgling studio will push back the release of its modern-day version of "Beauty and the Beast" to March 18.
It announced the re-shuffling to fans via Facebook at the end of May, but made the news official on Monday.
By postponing the film, CBS is also hoping that the movie's male lead, Alex Pettyfer, will have a higher profile after the February release of his big budget alien film "I Am Number Four."
"The move was purely strategic," Grey Munford, a spokesperson for CBS Films told TheWrap. "It was done to avoid avoid direct conflict with "Charlie" and to benefit from Alex's elevation via 'I am Number Four.' We think this is a great date."
Whatever the rationale, pushing back the upstart studio's major play for summertime dollars has to smart.
Coming out of ShoWest, the tween-themed film was seen as CBS' best chance to break out in a big way after a dispiriting beginning. The studio's first film, the medical drama "Extraordinary Measures" brought in a meager $14 million worldwide. Its sophomore effort "The Back-Up Plan" has been a modest hit, taking in $50 million on a $35 million budget.
Yet, according to an individual with knowledge of the decision making, there wasn't any other reasonable dates in a crowded summer that will also see the release of films such as "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" and "Eat, Pray, Love" that are likewise geared toward female audiences.
Traditionally moving a film's release date has been a sign that a studio lacked confidence in its product, but "Shuttter Island," which was moved from the fall of 2009 to early spring of this year, has helped change that perception, the individual said.
In addition to Hudgens and Pettyer, "Beastly" co-stars Neil Patrick Harris and Mary-Kate Olsen.