Fox has moved Rise of the Apes from a Thanksgiving release date to the end of the summer.

Is the switch a sign that the prequel isn’t good enough to go up against tougher box office competition?

According to VarietyRise of the Apes will now hit theaters on August 5th. It replaced David Gordon Green’s comedy The Sitter, which stars Jonah Hill and Sam Rockwell. That film will now hit theaters on December 9th. This is the second time Fox has changed the release date for Rise of the Apes, which was originally scheduled for June 24th.

It’s not uncommon for studios to shift release dates to maximize possible box office returns, and Fox’s strategy may pay off for the Planet of the Apes prequel. While late summer is not traditionally the strongest time of year to debut a new movie, Variety writes that August has been a decent month for the box office in the last few years.

Still, compared to the Thanksgiving weekend, the August release date is definitely much lower profile. Of course, that doesn’t mean Fox has no faith in Rise of the Apes or that it will be a bad movie. It’s simply a business decision, which, in Hollywood, is what 99% of decisions boil down to.

For what it’s worth, I think Rise of the Apes could be a surprise hit this summer. On the surface, it has everything you’d want in a film: a young Academy Award-nominated star in James Franco, a strong supporting cast including Brian Cox, and the world-class motion-capture talents of the one and only Andy Serkis (who I still think was robbed for not getting a supporting actor nomination for his work in Lord of the Rings).

With so many great films coming out this year, Rise of the Apes fell just short of making the cut for our list of the Most Anticipated Movies of 2011. Is it on your personal must-watch list?

Source: Variety