Bosses at Sony Pictures Classics had initially set a 28 November (15) date for the film's launch, but they have since decided to postpone its opening until 25 March (16).
The shift pulls I Saw The Light out of contention for the 2015/2016 awards season, but studio co-president Tom Bernard insists the move is for the best.
He explains, "We looked at the landscape and are making a decision that I think is a good one for the film. Tom Hiddleston's got three movies out potentially, so the press is consuming him...
"What we saw was I Saw The Light up against the wall in this tight race of people throwing their Oscar movies out, and it's almost all or nothing. We thought this was a movie we could do a lot for leading up to its release that I think will put it in a much better place."
Bernard also adds he wanted to avoid the biopic becoming a "casualty" of the highly-anticipated Star Wars sequel, which is set for a December (15) release.
I Saw the Light, based on Colin Escott's biography of the same name, premiered in Nashville, Tennessee on Monday night (19Oct15) and Hiddleston and some of his co-stars later took the stage at Acme Feed & Seed for an after party performance. He delighted the crowd by strumming on a guitar as he sang Williams' hits Long Gone Lonesome Blues, Jambalaya (on the Bayou) and Hey Good Lookin'.
The movie chronicles the legendary country music singer's rise to fame and the health and personal issues that sent him to an early grave. It co-stars Elizabeth Olsen, Bradley Whitford, David Krumholtz and Cherry Jones.