Buena Vista has pulled its historical epic The Alamo out of awards contention this season andswitched the release date from Dec 25 to April 2004 after director John LeeHancock requested more time for completion.

"Too often in Hollywood thesedays, release dates are set before a film has even completed shooting and itforces the director into a situation that compromises the work," Walt DisneyStudios chairman Dick Cook said in a statement.

"Our experience working with John Lee Hancock has been so terrificand our belief in his opinions, talents and abilities so strong, that we felthis concerns about the looming release date warranted strong consideration."

Hancock added: "The Alamo has, from a very early age, been the most importantstory of my life, so when I agreed to rewrite and direct the film I set the barvery high, both for myself and the finished product.

"Post production on an epicensemble piece takes time and no deadline, no prestige release date, no awardsseason is worth more to me than the movie being fantastic. I owe that to myselfas well as to the film."

Billy Bob Thornton,Dennis Quaid, Jason Patric and Patrick Wilson star in the account of the 1836battle between a hopelessly outnumbered Texan militia and thousands of Mexicansoldiers.