“The Alamo” Pulled From Holiday Slate

Disney’s The Alamo, touted as one of this year’s possible Oscar contenders, is out of the running–at least for this year. The studio has pushed the war epic’s release date by five months from Dec. 25 to April 2004.

Directed by John Lee Hancock, The Alamo, is a retelling of the legendary 1836 battle where 187 Americans and Texans braved the onslaught of a massive Mexican army of 7,000 while holed up at the famed San Antonio fort. The film stars Dennis Quaid as Sam Houston and Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett.

Studio chairman Richard Cook said in a statement Tuesday the delay would allow the filmmakers additional time to complete the film.

“Too often in Hollywood these days, release dates are set before a film has even completed shooting, and it forces the director into a situation that compromises their work, ” Hancock said. “Post-production on an epic ensemble piece takes time, and no deadline, no prestige release date, no awards season is worth more to me than the movie being fantastic. I owe that to myself as well as the film.”

The Alamo has been a challenging project for Disney from the start. The project initially set out to be a big-budget feature with Russell Crowe starring as the legendary Sam Houston. Director Ron Howard was on board to helm what was envisioned as a gritty, R-rated epic. But with an estimated cost of $135 million, Disney decided the approach was too risky and pricey and in July 2002 opted to make a PG-13 version at half the cost instead.

A 40-acre replica of the Alamo, including the outlying town of Bexar, was built outside of Austin, Texas, for the production, which wrapped in June 2003. The current budget is estimated to be about $95 million.