Cameron Crowe's "We Bought a Zoo," starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, may not be opening until Christmas weekend, but you can see it a month and one major holiday earlier.

In an effort to build word-of-mouth (and potential Oscar buzz) for the whimsical true story during a crowded release frame, 20th Century Fox is is partnering with the social media service TOUT to preview the film in several cities, with online tie-ins on Twitter anf Fcebook (including a live chat with Crowe). Participating cities, and the number of theaters, have yet to be announced, but the release will be fairly wide.

"Zoo" centers on a single father (Damon) who purchases a new home that happens to be in the middle of a zoo, which he and his kids (Elle Fanning and Colin Ford) then try to restore to its past glory. Johansson ("the Avengers") plays the love interest and Thomas Haden Church ("Sideways") also stars.

Crowe ("Jerry Maguire," "Almost Famous") co-wrote the screenplay along with Aline Brosh McKenna.

"Once in a while, we're lucky enough to have a picture to which audiences of all kinds and all ages respond so strongly, that it demands a big and unexpected event," explains Fox president Oren Aviv in a release. "'We Bought a Zoo' is that kind of picture – and Thanksgiving is a great time to share it via this special very early preview.”

Crowe adds, “I think I’m the one getting the early holiday gift, because I’m really excited about these sneaks. Holding previews so far ahead of our opening is a bold move – but that’s one of the many reasons I like it. I couldn’t be prouder of 'We Bought a Zoo' and of the cast and crew that came along with me on this journey. And I’m looking forward to chatting with audiences online following the sneaks.”

Crowe also directed the Pearl jam doc "PJ20" earlier this year.

Watch the trailer for "We Bought a Zoo" here: