Filmmaker Nora Ephron is denying reports that the release date of her latest film, Lucky Numbers, starring John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow, was pushed back from July 14 to this Friday to distance it from Travolta's summertime dud, Battlefield Earth.

"That isn't really true," Ephron tells TV Guide Online. "The reason the movie was postponed was that it had just finished shooting. Before we did the movie, [Paramount] said, 'We want this movie in July.' And I said, 'Well, you're not going to get it.' They said, 'Well, we're just going to announce it.' I said, 'Don't announce it, because it's not going to be ready. I don't cut a movie in eight weeks.'

"So, they announced it and eight weeks later I said it's not ready," she adds. "Then they pushed it [back] and everyone went, 'Oh, it's because of Battlefield Earth. But it was never going to be ready."

As it is, Ephron explains that Numbers, a dark comedy loosely based on the true story of one man's (Travolta) plot to rig the Pennsylvania State Lottery, "is not a summer movie. It's a movie about a weatherman who is in a bind because it won't snow, and then it snows. So it always seemed right to us that this movie was winter.

"And it's kind of dark for a summer movie," she continues. "It's not real dark — it's not Fargo dark — but it's darkish."

That may come as a bit of a surprise to moviegoers, considering Paramount is marketing Numbers as a light and fluffy comedy. Ephron doesn't understand the studio's hesitation to sell the film for what it is. "I've been a broken record saying, 'What are you afraid of?" she sighs. "This is the movie."