Universal has moved Captain Corelli's Mandolin from its April release date in the US back to August. The romantic drama, starring Nicolas Cage, was scheduled to open on April 27 in North America, before commencing its international roll-out in the UK on May 4.

According to Universal's London office and UK distributor Buena Vista International, there are no plans to alter the UK release date. If the UK release does remain unchanged, the film will premiere in the territory three months prior to the US.

As well as placing the film in the more Academy award-friendly second half of the year, the US move would also allow Corelli to screen at Cannes in May - a non-home-territory release would preclude its eligilibity. However, Universal insists that the film is definitely not now being pushed towards Cannes and that the move of the US release date will make it less likely to be shown at the festival.

Sources at Universal believe the film will benefit from good reviews and strong word of mouth. This will be of particular benefit to the US marketing campaign, where the book is not as well known as in the UK and the audience is, therefore, not as eagerly primed for the bestseller adaptation. Arguably, a strong UK reception for Corelli will boost takings in the US as well as other territories.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin is produced by the UK's Working Title, responsible for films including Billy Elliot and the upcoming Bridget Jones' Diary. Based on the novel by British author Louis de Bernieres and directed by Shakespeare In Love's John Madden, the film features an international cast including Penelope Cruz, Christian Bale and John Hurt.An epic love story set on the Greek island of Cephalonia, the story takes place in the early days of the second world war, revolving around the affair between a woman (Cruz) and an Italian army captain (Cage). Hurt plays Cruz's doctor father and Bale a young fisherman to whom she is engaged.