‘Lost Souls’ Sees Light of Day

Come this Friday the 13th, “Lost Souls” promises to bring audiences a frightening glimpse of hell on Earth and Winona Ryder in a shaggy brown do. But if the pitch sounds vaguely familiar — in a 1999 pre-millennial sort of way — well, it is.

For if memory serves right, the spook flick — which stars the “Girl, Interrupted” waif as an exorcist-type hip to Satan’s evil ways of taking over the world — was originally due out in October 1999, then February 2000 and now fall 2000.

And it was after a whole year of shuffling and juggling before “Lost Souls” had an official release date: Oct. 13, 2000.

So what’s up?

“It means the movie is troubled,” Brandon Gray, box office analyst at boxofficemojo.com, told Hollywood.com. “They don’t think it’s a good movie or a marketable movie. Essentially, they moved it from its schedule to decide what they’re going to do next.”

While the word in the wind was that the film was originally pushed back from October last year to avoid the slew of pre-millennial flicks — a la “Stigmata,” “Stir of Echoes” and “End of Days” — flooding into cineplexes at the same time, Gray thinks that the spiel is just a smokescreen.

“It sounds like a spin, even though it is kind of a reasonable spin. All the movies that came out from July to the beginning of the year that were apocalyptic flicks did pretty well, all except for ‘Stir of Echoes,'” Gray says.

‘End of Days‘ made $60 million and ‘Stigmata‘ made about $50 million. And the important thing was, [those films] didn’t even cannibalize each other.

“It just makes more sense to release [‘Lost Souls‘] last year, since they were obviously trying to capitalize on the pre-millennial timing,” Gray concludes.

And with “The Exorcist” expanding its re-release, Gray predicts that “Lost Souls,” opening Friday, might be in a worse match-up than if it were to stick with its 1999 opening.

Our calls to New Line Cinema, the studio distributing the flick, were not returned. So no, we couldn’t ask the studio if it ever thought that Linda Blair could outgun Winona Ryder.