Miramax has reportedly moved the US release of 'Gangs Of New York' to 20 December, five days earlier than originally planned.

It is thought the move was made to avoid a same-day face off with the DreamWorks' film 'Catch Me If You Can' which also stars Leonardo DiCaprio.

Martin Scorcese's movie, which was originally due for release last Christmas, is now up against 'The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers' which will also be released on 18 December.

Hollywood studios have crammed many blockbuster movie releases into the US Christmas period, with Denzel Washington's directorial debut 'Antwone Firsher' and Hugh Grant's new comedy 'Two Weeks Notice' also battling for attention.

'Gangs', which also stars Irish actor Daniel Day Lewis, will open on 2,500 screens in the US and is one of the early favourites to pick up Oscars at next year's ceremony.

The movie is due for release here in January.