‘Bourne’ blinks in release matchup with ‘Total Recall’

“The Bourne Legacy” has retreated from what was sure to be one of the bloodiest battles of the summer as it was poised to open against “Total Recall.”

Universal Pictures said Friday that it is pushing back the release of its new installment in the spy franchise, this one starring Jeremy Renner, by one week. It was supposed to open on Aug. 3, the same date as Sony’s remake of the science-fiction story “Total Recall.”

Both are action films aimed at a primarily male audience and were likely cut into each others’ audiences, depressing the opening weekend tally for both. Universal was the first to date its release, picking the Aug. 3 date for “The Bourne Legacy” in October 2010. Sony moved “Recall,” starring Colin Farrell, onto the date roughly four months later.

However, people familiar with the thinking of executives at both studios have said for months that neither wanted to move, confident that the date was a good one for its movie and the other studio should change its date.


Those people said Sony and Universal each thought that its own movie was poised to perform better than its competitor’s based on pre-release research. As a result, both were waiting for the other to shift the opening date.

A Universal spokeswoman said in an email that the studio made the move in order to be further out from the July 20 opening of Warner Bros.‘ “The Dark Knight Rises,” which is expected to be a blockbuster hit. In addition, she noted that the later date will allow the studio’s sibling NBC Universal networks to promote “The Bourne Legacy” more during the Olympics.

Whatever the motivation, Universal’s decision is sure to improve the opening weekend performance of both films. On “Bourne’s” new date it will compete against two comedies, “Hope Springs” and “The Candidate,” leaving it as the only event film.

“Recall” will open against “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days.”


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