After presenting The Spirit at last month's New York Comic-Con, Lionsgate feels good enough about Frank Miller's solo directorial debut to move it from its January 16th dead zone of a release date to Christmas Day, 2008. So instead of going up against Mall Cop, starring Kevin James as a wacky security guard, and the Notorious B.I.G. biopic, The Spirit will face off against Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories, the supposedly ultra-heartwarming Marley & Me, The Tale of Despereaux, and the aftershocks of Twilight and The Day the Earth Stood Still.

"Adult" Christmas counterprogramming has not traditionally fared too well. Last year's Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem actually did okay, but remember Black Christmas? No? What about Darkness? The move is indeed a vote of confidence, but it might up throwing the film to the wolves. The key is to position it as a prestige picture rather than a throwaway. There's been enough fanfare around the promotional materials released thus far to make that look like a possibility. If Lionsgate can put it on people's radar in advance as a Christmas Movie to See, rather than have it randomly show up to compete against the holiday heavy-hitters, it could work.

Take a look at the trailer for The Spirithere.