Want to know the real reason why Warner Bros. is pushing back “Matrix” creators Andy and Lana Wachowski’s “Jupiter Ascending,” starring Mila Kunis and a puckish Channing Tatum, from summer-season July 18 to off-peak Feb. 6, 2015? It’s not only the recent studio trend to invest more time and money in already expensive would-be tentpoles rather than risk not pleasing audiences. Sure, the Wachowskis –whose ambitious and partly self-financed last effort with Tom Tykwer, “Cloud Atlas,” was a dud at the global box office, topping out at $126 million worldwide– could use more time to tinker with editing and VFX. That’s the official reason behind the move.
It’s also that Warners doesn’t want to gamble on two potential losses in the same quarter. Heading toward the opening weekend for Doug Liman’s brainy $178-million Tom Cruise-starrer “Edge of Tomorrow,” the studio was already worried about its weak tracking. Sure enough, the movie opened well behind “The Fault in Our Stars” and so far has logged only $29 million domestic and $111 million foreign.
Too late to pull the Cruise vehicle from the summer lineup, Warners opted to postpone the box office reckoning on “Jupiter Ascending” to the first quarter, when there’s both more wriggle room in the marketplace and lower expectations. The competition: Johnny Depp heist thriller “Mortdecai,” Legendary’s long-delayed “Seventh Son,” starring Jeff Bridges, which looks execrable and is opening a year late, and “SpongeBob SquarePants 2.”
Check the trailer below: you can see what Warners is dealing with. This is yet another otherworldly sci-fi space epic with overwrought costumes, sets and space ships, fast-moving nasty alien critters and explosive air battles, and an evil overlord (Eddie Redmayne) seeking to vanquish the universe. (This has roots in everything from “Buck Rogers” to “Star Wars.”)
While we have a strong Earth-bound everywoman heroine (Kunis), she is really a princess–traced for extermination by her faraway alien nemesis–and is rescued by her hero knight, Caine (Tatum). Some things never change.