Tom Cruise's mission to return to the big screen is beginning to seem impossible.
For the second time, MGM and United Artists have pushed back the release date of the WWII epic Valkyrie, a film that has been plagued by an inordinate number of problems over the course of its production.
The thriller's new release date, Feb. 13, 2009, falls a full eight months after it was originally scheduled to hit theaters.
In December, the studios postponed the film from June 27 to Oct. 3 to allow director Bryan Singer additional time to shoot a key battle sequence.
Producers have offered no such explanations for the delay this time around, instead chalking up the pushed-back date, usually a red flag, to a tactical move designed to make the most of the movie's opening weekend, which now falls on the Presidents Day holiday.
"MGM is proud and excited to be presenting Valkyrie, and because of that we want to give it the best launch possible," Clark Woods, MGM's domestic distribution president, said.
"When an opening became available for Presidents Day weekend, we seized the opportunity. Having seen a lot of the film and how great it is going to play once it's finished, moving into a big holiday weekend is the right move."
According to BoxOfficeMojo.com, Valkyrie will now face off against potential heavy-hitters Confessions of a Shopaholic, Pink Panther 2, The Wolfman and, apropos of the date, the anticipated Michael Bay remake of Friday the 13th.
In the film, Cruise affects a German accent and a historically accurate eye patch to play Claus von Stauffenberg, a Nazi colonel who plotted the only known assassination attempt—an obviously unsuccessful one—against Adolf Hitler.
The delay is just the latest bit of bad luck to hit the production since filming kicked off in Germany last summer.
Shortly after the project began, some of the more vocal members of the von Stauffenberg family publicly called out the casting of Cruise, claiming he lacked the requisite gravitas. Before their protests had a chance to quiet down, German officials piped up, refusing to grant filmmakers permission to shoot at a memorial site that was to house a pivotal scene in the movie.
Following that hiccup, Germany's defense minister complained about Cruise's ties to Scientology, which has been labeled a cult by the German government.
To top it all off, nighttime footage shot last summer was irreversibly damaged last year after being developed with the wrong chemicals, necessitating costly reshoots.