James Gray and Brad Pitt’s ‘Ad Astra’ Not Opening May 24 — Now Eyes Fall Festival Debut

The ambitious space drama is being pushed back again as Gray continues to tinker around in the edit room.
Brad Pitt, left, and director/writer/producer James Gray arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Lost City of Z" at the ArcLight Hollywood onLA Premiere of "The Lost City of Z" - Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 5 Apr 2017
Brad Pitt and James Gray

At Wednesday night’s Hollywood press and influencer screening of Plan B’s Sundance hit “Last Black Man in San Francisco,” one Plan B producer, when asked about speculation about the “Ad Astra” May 24 release date, said that they have not been told when Fox’s Brad Pitt sci-fi movie will land on the revamped Disney/Fox release schedule. A Fox representative confirmed to IndieWire the movie will not be coming out May 24 as scheduled. Fox is now awaiting Disney’s imminent announcement, but no new release date has been set. At this point, James Gray is editing with the fall festivals in mind.

“Ad Astra” reunites Gray with his “Lost City of Z” producer Brad Pitt. The actor stars as an Army Corps engineer who decides to go on an ambitious space mission to find out what happened to his father, who set out on a journey to Neptune looking for signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence but never returned. The supporting cast includes Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, and Jamie Kennedy.

20th Century Fox originally set “Ad Astra” for January 11 before pushing back the release date to May 24. Gray said last December at the Marrakech Film Festival he was unsure if he could meet the May release date given how extensive the visual effects work is on the movie. “You know usually when you see a science-fiction movie there are a number of shots that don’t look very good?” Gray said during a masterclass. “I do not want to be up against a release date and have stuff looking really bad.”

“Ad Astra” remained on the release calendar for May 24 throughout 2019 so far, but the lack of any marketing for the movie led many to question whether or not the release would stick. Even during Disney’s presentation at CinemaCon last month the film was set for May on a release schedule the studio showed press in attendance. The May 24 date had some questioning whether or not Gray would return to Cannes, but the film was not announced during the April 18 lineup reveal. “Ad Astra” will be Gray’s first release since “The Lost City of Z” opened in theaters via Amazon Studios in April 2017. Disney is handling the film’s distribution following the merger.

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