Western fans, here's some good news: Lionsgate announced yesterday that they're moving the release date for 3:10 to Yuma (James Mangold's take on the 1957 oat opera of the same name) up a month to September 7th. You may recall stories about Yuma's problematic pre-production, with various big stars stepping on and off the film, but even with a revolving door of casting possibilities and a hefty budget cut, the film's done. And, evidently, Lionsgate are confident enough in the film (starring Christian Bale as a lawman who has to get Russell Crowe's bad man to the train on time, though Hell should bar the way) to be putting it out early.

The Variety piece about the release date change contains an interesting comment from Lionsgate theatrical president Tom Ortenberg: "We certainly wanted to be the first Western in the marketplace ...," implying that with the long-delayed Brad Pitt-starring The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and the Coen Brothers epic No Country for Old Men both due this fall, 3:10 is going to try to be the first film out of the post before audiences presumably get Western fatigue. I for one am more intrigued by the fact that after years of no Westerns, we're getting two-and-a-half (really, No Country for Old Men counts as a revisionist Western and not as a more classic-styled period piece) in one season. Is this release plan marking a new trend, or is it just a coincidence -- and does it matter to you which of the above three films comes out first when the time comes to make your ticket-buying decision?