Lionsgate has moved Frank Miller's The Spirit into a 2008 slot and will release the classic comic strip adaptation on December 25.

The film was originally set to open on January 16, 2009 and stars Garbiel Macht as a former police officer who returns as an avenging angel to protect the streets of Central City.

Samuel Jackson plays The Spirit's nemesis The Octopus and key cast includes Eva Mendes, Scarlett Johansson and Paz Vega. The story originated in a comic strip by Will Eisner.

International release dates will soon be announced by Sony Pictures Releasing International, which is handling distribution in many European territories and Latin America, and by Odd Lot International, which is distributing to the rest of the world except for the UK and Australia, where the film is being released by Lionsgate.

The announcement was jointly made today by Lionsgate's president of theatrical films Tom Ortenberg and producers Deborah Del Prete and Gigi Pritzker of Odd Lot Entertainment.

Odd Lot's Deborah Del Prete and Gigi Pritzker are producing along with Michael Uslan of Batfilm Productions Inc. Batfilm co-founder Benjamin Melniker and Steven Maier are executive producing, along with Odd Lot's Bill Lischak and Lionsgate's Michael Burns and Michael Paseornak.

'Comic-Con fans resoundingly confirmed what we felt in our bones about The Spirit: this is a great film and an irresistible piece of entertainment,' Ortenberg said following a rapturous reception following a recent presentation at the New York pop culture event in March. 'For all of us, it was an easy decision - we had to give audiences The Spirit for Christmas 2008.'

'We are thrilled about the decision to release The Spirit on Christmas Day,' Del Prete said. 'We know we have an amazing movie, with an engrossing story, appealing characters, and stunning visuals. Plus, there's a lot of snow, which makes it a perfect gift for the holiday season.'