Earlier this week, Disney announced that Rian Johnson‘s "Star Wars: Episode VIII" was being significantly pushed back, from May 5, 2017 to December 15, 2017. It was an interesting move because it put the movie two weeks away from "Avatar 2," which was planned to be released on Christmas Day. Was Disney feeling confident that James Cameron‘s movie wouldn’t be much of a threat, or as some people were suggesting, did they know something about Fox‘s tentpole that everyone else didn’t. And my guess is that the latter scenario is true.
The Wrap reports that "Avatar 2" won’t be ready in time for Christmas 2017. This is yet another delay that the movie has faced, slotted at one time to be released this year, then bumped to 2017, and now it’s unclear when the movie might land.
The rumor is that ‘Episode VIII’ is using the extra time for script rewrites, but it’s worth remembering that Disney does have some stake in the success of the "Avatar" sequels, and aren’t in the game of trying to take the shine off of it. They are building the "Avatar" theme park attractions, and construction has already started, so it would make sense if they were tipped off that "Avatar 2" is moving.
As for 20th Century Fox, you have to wonder how much money they are pouring into development, and when their patience with Cameron might run out. The director has been planning to shoot "Avatar 2," and the two follow-ups that will make up a new trilogy, concurrently, and been spending a lot of time working on new fangled tech for the pictures. And while Film Twitter may already be scoffing at "Avatar 2," and wondering how it could possibly be as popular as the first movie, Hollywood was learned never to bet against Cameron. He has upended expectations every time, and remember this: early word on the first "Avatar" was awful, and even following the first look of the movie, many thought it was going to be a disaster. Well, $2.7 billion dollars worldwide later….
At any rate, this is emerging as one of the more fascinating blockbuster stories in recent memory, and it’ll be interesting to see if Cameron can once again rise to the occasion.
Meanwhile over at WB, they’ve done a little bump again to Guy Ritchie‘s "Knights Of The Roundtable: King Arthur." After being pushed from this summer to February 17, 2017 they have moved it to March 24, 2017, which is more or less the same date this year as "Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice." The move appears to be a stronger vote of confidence in the picture; especially after doubt in its prospects began to form once WB pushed it off its summer tentpole release date. ‘King Arthur’ will will now face off against Lionsgate‘s "Power Rangers."