Summit Entertainment has set a release date for their Twilight sequel, New Moon.  The film will bow November 20th, 2009, the same pre-Thanksgiving weekend occupied by Twilight this year.  The prime spot used to belong to another popular fantasy series, but Warner Bros. decision to move Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince from Fall ’08 to Summer ’09 left Summit an opening they couldn’t refuse.  The true test of Summit’s newly discovered strength will come in November of 2010.  WB has already scheduled the debut of the final film in their series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for that Thanksgiving weekend… so the big question is will Summit stay on schedule  and have book three in the Twilight series, Eclipse, ready to face-off against Mr. Potter and his mighty wand?

Along with the release date and announcement of Chris Weitz (American Pie, The Golden Compass) as director of New Moon, there was one casting surprise.  Taylor Lautner, who played Jacob in Twilight, may not make the cut for the follow-up.  Jacob’s role is expanded in New Moon which finds weak-willed waif Bella trying to fill the void left by Edward’s departure with some canine companionship.  Lautner is reportedly “too small” to play a werewolf…

Speculation has already started as to who’ll fill Lautner’s hairy shoes, with the most oft-mentioned name being Michael Copon.  Who’s he?  Who cares.  But for the record, he starred in the direct to DVD stinker The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior and the upcoming Night of the Demons remake.

Do you care about any of this? New Moon will be opening up against WB’s Sherlock Holmes, Sony’s animated Planet 51, and MGM’s Three Stooges film.

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