NEW YORK - George Clooney's World War II drama "The Monuments Men" is being pushed to 2014 and out of the fall awards season.
The movie will now be released in the first quarter of next year, instead of its planned release date of Dec. 18, a spokesman for Sony Pictures said Wednesday. "Monuments Men," which Clooney directed, co-wrote and stars in, had been expected to be among the top Oscar contenders.
The film could still compete for awards next year, but the early-in-the-year positioning suggests Sony doesn't expect it to. Movies released early in the year - much less sought-after territory than the lucrative holiday movie-going season - rarely garner any awards interest.
Sony said the film is being delayed so Clooney can finish the film's extensive visual effects.
"The Monuments Men," which also stars Matt Damon and Bill Murray, is about a World War II platoon whose mission is to rescue artworks from the Nazis. Based on a true story, the film is adapted from Robert Edsel's book "The Monuments Men: Allie Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History."
Reportedly made for $65 million, Clooney has conceived of "The Monuments Men" as a popular period drama tinged with comedy in the mold of "The Great Escape." While an early 2014 release takes the film out of the awards hunt, it could find more room at a less crowded box office.
"The Monuments Men" is only the latest film to shift out of the fall movie-going season. Previously pushed into 2014 were "Foxcatcher," "Grace of Monaco" and "The Immigrant."
The Los Angeles Times first reported the release date change.