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Sometimes you get a sudden release date switch that's actually an excellent sign for a movie's prospects, like when Warner Bros. pushed The Conjuring from January to a prime summer release date next month. Sometimes a release date swap is a nasty omen, like the endless saga of Keanu Reeves's 47 Ronin, which has been pushed back multiple times.
Today Warner Bros has given us one of each kind of release date switch. Let's start with the good kind first. The Robert DeNiro-Sylvester Stallone boxing comedy (yes, that's really what it is) Grudge Match was originally slated for a mid-January release next year, but the studio appears to have gotten brave and scheduled it for Christmas Day of this year instead. From Anger Management director Peter Segal, the film has revealed just one set photo of the two all bloodied up, but with a supporting cast that also includes Kim Basinger, Alan Arkin, and suddenly ever-present Kevin Hart, it ought to have more to offer than just two old dudes trying to relive their Raging Bull and Rocky days. If it doesn't tarnish the legacy of either of those classics, at least, we'll have gotten out of this unscathed.
Now to the uglier part. The Seventh Son looked perfectly situated among the current rash of young-adult fantasy book adaptations, with a somewhat familiar story about a young man trained in magical skills, and a crazy cast of talented people to back him up-- if Jeff Bridges, Djimon Honsou, Man of Steel's Antje Traue and Game of Thrones's Kit Harrington don't sell you, how about Julianne Moore as a malevolent witch? But we hadn't heard much about it since a lone photo emerged last December, and now we know why: instead of opening October 18 this year, The Seventh Son will bow January 17 in 2014. If you've followed your January releases over the years, you'll remember that mid-January is typically a graveyard for quality films. This year's standouts include Broken City and The Last Stand, and who could forget Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters? Really, if you're looking for what 2014's Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters will be, The Seventh Son will probably be it.
Of course, release dates aren't entirely destiny-- the quality Mama opened in desolate January, and the rough The Guilt Trip opened last Christmas. Make up your own mind on both of these films! Unfortunately there aren't any trailers out for either of them, so we don't have much more to go on than the hunch you get from release date shenanigans. Honestly, I probably would have expected each of them to be awful in their own, unique ways-- Grudge Match a spiritual followup to the bloated Bullet to the Head and The Seventh Son a generic fantasy effort (it even stars poor Ben Barnes, who was in the second two Chronicles of Narnia movies that nobody saw). But don't let my pessimism or the releases dates tell you what to think! Let us know in the comments which of these, if either of them, has your interest.