There are many theory's why this move was made, but Paramount executives claimed it all had to do with money, and that a February release would be more profitable.
Last year around this time I was writing about Fox Searchlight and their 2008 calender, which ended up including Slumdog Millionaire which went on to win Best Picture.
Well looking at Paramount's calender for this year, it's clear that 2009 is not only a good year for Paramount with great success stories (Transformers 2, Star Trek, Monsters vs. Aliens) but they also have some buzz-worthy award contenders still yet to be released.
To see Paramount move Shutter Island tells me that the studio thinks these films have the goods and are worth their award campaign dollars.
How has Paramount done with Oscar best pic nods over this past decade? Just 2 Best picture nominees...The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2009, co-produced with Warner Brothers) and The Hours (2002, co-produced with Miramax).
Honestly, I'm shocked. They've picked up nods along the way, but seem to live in the world of that "second tier" come awards season, with some fan favorites (Iron Man and Zodiac)and far too many Nicholas Cage films.
Paramount I'm sure is excited about the 10 Best Picture change because it gives their studio a shot they seem like they've missed out on.
Still, I'm surprised Up In The Air is with Paramount instead of Fox Searchlight. But...Paramount seems to still have tremendous marketing capital even if they miss the awards boat.