Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone will get to trade blows on Christmas Day rather than brawl after the New Year's as their comedy "Grudge Match" was moved to an earlier date for moviegoers, Warner Bros. Pictures announced Thursday.
De Niro and Stallone, who created unforgettable cinematic boxing characters in dramas, will play aging Pittsburgh boxing rivals who re-enter the ring after long retirements to get another piece of each other, according to a Warner Bros.press release reported on by the Wall Street Journal
Thursday. The movie was scheduled to be released in mid-January.
"Results of our early screenings have been outstanding, giving us every indication that 'Grudge Match' is a movie that can excel during the Christmas play period," Dan Fellman, president of Warner Bros. domestic distribution said in the news release. "With the iconic pairing of De Niro and Stallone, surrounded by such a terrific cast – including comedy greats Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin – we felt it was a perfect opportunity to jump into the holidays and give audiences of all ages a chance to enjoy the movie."
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Despite Fellman's enthusiasm for "Grudge Match," The Wrap's Todd Cunningham pointed out Thursday that Christmas, which falls on a Wednesday, this year, is already brimming with movie releases
"The Weinstein Company last week shifted its Meryl Streep-Julia Roberts drama 'August: Osage Count' to that date," Cunningham said. "Already there were Universal’s Keanu Reeves action drama '47 Ronin,' Paramount’s Chris Pine-Keira Knightley action thriller 'Jack Ryan' and the Fox comedy 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.' "
Fellman seems to like his chances with "Grudge Match," which features three Academy Award winners (De Niro, Arkin and Kim Basinger), Oscar-nominated Stallone and the popularity of Hart, who is also slated to star in three other movies in 2014 – "Ride Along," "About Last Night," and "Think Like a Man Too." Basinger plays Stallone's love interest in the movie.
Peter Sega, who has "Get Smart" and "The Longest Yard" to his credits, directed the movie. Rodney Rothman wrote the screenplay from a story by Tim Kelleher, according to the Warner Bros. news release.
De Niro was last seen in the Oscar-nominated "Silver Linings Playbook" while Stallone appeared in "The Expendables 2" last summer.
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