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Sony Pushes ‘Zookeeper’ to July 2011

After gaining domestic distribution rights to Kevin James comedy from MGM, studio officials say film will play as big summer comedy

After catching MGM’s punt of the Kevin James film “The Zookeeper” earlier this month, Sony has decided to push the comedy way back to July 8, 2011.

A Sony official said the movie, previously slated for Oct. 8, has screened well, and that the studio thinks it will play well as a big summer comedy.

Co-produced by Sony, MGM, Todd Garner’s Broken Road Productions and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison shingle, cash-strapped MGM relinquished domestic distribution to Sony, which already had international rights.

The film stars James as a zoo staffer who presides over a host of celebrity-voiced animals, with Sandler, Cher, Jon Favreau, Sylvester Stallone and Judd Apatow lending vocal support.

With the project currently in post-production, Franc Coraci (“The Waterboy”) directed the screenplay written by Nick Bakay (“King of Queens”) and Scot Armstrong (“Semi-Pro,” “Starsky & Hutch,” “Old School”).