And here comes a gigaton of release date changes.
Recently, Sony shifted and dated quite a number of their 2016 and 2017 releases, continuing a trend in which studios ‘reserve dates so that others will back off far in advance’. I mean, ever since Marvel started getting real competitive in this, reserving every first May weekend since 2007, with 2010 being the sole exception to the rule, everyone has started thinking how great an idea it is, especially if you want your film in a prime spot. Hence, just look at the upcoming release calendar, and you will see several films (mostly blockbusters) already slotted out, even though most of them probably won’t meet their imminent deadlines.
This time round, Sony’s coming out in force, trying to show how unfazed they are over the recent Sony hack which plagued their company barely a year ago. Oh, and they have slotted several sequels and character-driven thrillers and dramas. Let’s look at some of them with detail:
Money Monster, Jodie Foster’s next directorial project, and starring George Clooney, Jack O’Connell and Julia Robert in the leads, is now dated for April 8 2016. It’s coming into a really packed weekend with the likes of Gods of Egypt, Melissa McCarthy’s next comedy Michelle Darnell and Race. This film follows financial TV personality Lee Gates, who offers up stock advice on his hit show “Money Monster,” and is then held hostage by a viewer, Kyle Budwell, who lost all of his money after following a bad tip from Lee during his show. With its prestigious cast, it might prove to be a sleeper hit in the month of April, one which is already filled with lots of potential blockbusters, including an action-adventure big budget fare, a Huntsman spinoff from Snow White and the Huntsman, and Jungle Book, all which aren’t typical April fare, which tends to be more adult-skewing in nature.
The Shallows is now dated for June 24 2016. Nothing much is known about this film yet, but knowing that they are launching this on the day Independence Day: Resurgence hits theaters, Sony must definitely have something up their sleeves. Perhaps counter-programming to an otherwise blockbuster heavy slate? Meanwhile, Patient Zero, meanwhile, is dated for September 2 2016, the first film to have reserved that date. Starring Natalie Dormer, Stanley Tucci and Matt Smith (of Doctor Who fame), the plot is as follows- After a pandemic outbreak of a mutated form of rabies results in most humans being turned into a highly intelligent new species known as “The Infected,” a human survivor, Morgan (Matt Smith), with the ability to talk with the “infected,” investigates these species and pursues “Patient Zero” to find an antidote to save humanity, including his infected wife. Aiding Morgan on the mission to find Patient Zero is CDC virologist Dr. Gina Rose (Natalie Dormer), leading the scientific research efforts, while Colonel Knox (Clive Standen) is in charge of the military front. Is this Sony’s answer to World War Z?
Ghostbusters has been shifted up a week to July 15 2016, where it will be going up against Ice Age 5, The Lake and La La Land. The all female reboot is looking at giving the franchise yet another chance to shine, so that might explain its move from King Arthur on July 22nd, which might have some audience overlap. Meanwhile, The Magnificent Seven will now hit theaters on January 13 2017. This Antoine Fuqua helmed remake will star the likes of Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt alongside many other renowned names, though Sony is surpisingly slotting The Dark Tower on the same date. I won’t be surprised if one of these two films shift dates yet again.
Underworld 5, with Kate Beckinsale again, is returning to theaters October 21 2016, juet in time for Halloween. That’s on the same day as Geostorm and Oujia 2. This looks to perform in line with what past installments made, of course with more front-loadedness, due to it 2016. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is looking at January 27 2017, and is supposedly meant to be the last film we ever see from this franchise which has by far run its time.
Passengers is opening on December 21 2016, alongside Assassin’s Creed and Illumination Entertainment’s next animated project. That December season is shaping up to become one of the busiest in recent years, also containing the likes of Star Wars, especially after what seems to be a very quiet December later this year. The Chris Pratt- Jennifer Lawrence vehicle will have to cope with intense competition, though it’s target demographics are looking to be really different. Here’s hoping star power exists. Meanwhile, the Jumanji reboot is releasing four days later on Christams Day, alongside The Greatest Showman on Earth.
Sony has also reserved dates for two sequels for Bad Boys- Bad Boys 3 is coming on February 17 2017, while Bad Boys 4 is releasing on July 3 2019. It seems like Sony is bringing back one of its old properties from the closet, to strip all the profits it can possibly get from this (at least until it goes bare). Anyways, the former is facing off against The Maze Runner: Death Cure. Edgar Wright’s next film, Baby Driver, is coming to a theater near you March 17 2017, with Lily James and Ansel Elgort attached to star. The plot is as follows- After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a doomed heist. It definitely feels different from any Wright film to date, but considering he was that close in letting us witness his vision for Ant-Man, I guess I’ll reserve that judgement. It’ll open alongside Beauty and the Beast in a jam-packed March with the likes of Wolverine, King Kong, The Mummy and Allegiant Part 2 (Divergent Series).
Okay, Uncharted is moving back a year, so I guess that makes Assassin’s Creed the only video game movie adaptation we will see in 2016, alongside Warcraft. So much for the year where video game adaptations become the next big thing which studios will fight for. It’s leaving its June 10 2016 release date, and shifting to June 30 2017, which will also see Despicable Me 3. The Lamb film, meanwhile, is looking at December 8 2017. Nothing much about this is known just yet, so lets just leave it at that. Oh, and last and not least, Barbie! Barbie is finally getting the film treatment she deserves, and is taking June 2 2017. The only thing it has to contend with would be Star Wars Episode VIII, which will be unleashing its might and claws upon all in its second weekend. I won’t be expecting any film to join Sony on that date, considering Star Wars: A Force Awakens is already tracking to become one of the biggest movies of all time. Well, at least they probably won’t be targetting the same group of people.
That’s all for Sony. Meanwhile, I did mention Ben Affleck in the title, and I haven’t mentioned him just yet. Well, that announcement comes from Warner Bros., thats why. Warner Bros is shifting two of Affleck’s starring vehicles, The Accountant and Live by Night (the latter is being delayed the second time), perhaps for Affleck to have time for his DC universe commitments. You probably know why, since Affleck has been rumoured to be the scene stealer in early insider previews of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and he’s going to be directing the first of three films in the next Batman trilogy. At to that his filming commitments for Justice League, and we can see why he’s busy. Live by Night is vacating its October 2016 spot (which was probably slotted there for the running of Oscars) till sometime in 2017, while The aaccountant is now moving to that vacated date of October 7 2016.
Well, that’s about it for now.