MOVIEGOERS will have to wait an extra six months to see Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby.
The Hollywood studio Warner Bros has pushed back the release from Christmas Day in the United States - and January 10 in Australia - to the next American summer.
The original release date for the movie, which was shot in Sydney and the Blue Mountains with a cast headed by Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan, allowed it to qualify for next year's Academy Awards. The new date, described only by Warner Bros as ''summer 2013'', now puts it in the thick of Hollywood's blockbuster season.
The studio's president of domestic distribution, Dan Fellman, said it made sense to ensure the 3D adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous novel was seen by the largest audience possible.
"Based on what we've seen, Baz Luhrmann's incredible work is all we anticipated and so much more,'' he said.
''It truly brings Fitzgerald's American classic to life in a completely immersive, visually stunning and exciting way.''
The president of international distribution for Warner Bros, Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, said: ''The responses we've had to some of the early sneak peeks have been phenomenal and we think The Great Gatsby will be the perfect summer movie around the world."
The move was considered a surprise in Hollywood given the buzz about DiCaprio being a leading contender for next year's best actor Oscar and the promising look of the movie's trailer.
It is believed Warner Bros executives still see the movie as an Oscars contender, just a year later than expected.
''There's no way of knowing whether Warner's actually decided that the film's release would be better served by a summer release - when it will certainly serve as good counter-programming to the usual summer shlock - or whether it came to the conclusion that the film wouldn't be able to hold its own against this year's stiff awards competition,'' The Hollywood Reporter commented.
Variety noted The Great Gatsby was among a flurry of movies to shift recently into next year, including Warner Bros's Man of Steel, Jack the Giant Killer and Gangster Squad and Paramount's World War Z, Hansel and Gretel and G.I. Joe: Retaliation.