For a few months at the beginning of 2009, Kevin James was basically the biggest movie star in America. Paul Blart Mall Cop had done incredible business, and James seemed to have finally graduated from TV star and goofy movie sidekick to full-fledge leading man, Adam Sandler style. He went pretty quickly into production on his next project, the similar-sounding comedy Zookeeper (think Paul Blart with animals instead of Segways). The movie had been scheduled for a fall release this year, but now James will have to wait even longer for his next star turn-- for good reasons, as it turns out.

As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Sony tested the film for audiences (they took over distribution from troubled MGM last month) and saw some of the highest scores ever. As EW puts it, "the studio believes they have a big commercial hit on their hands but not enough time to get it into this summer’s calendar." So Zookeeper is moving from its October 2010 slot to July 8, 2011, where it will be slotted right between Transformers 3 and-- sniff-- the final Harry Potter movie. Not exactly easy competition, but Sony clearly believes in the power of this thing to bring in families turned off by racist robots or the death of beloved characters at the end of Harry Potter. Can't say I blame 'em, really.

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