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Yesterday, Universal announced that the next installment of the Fast & Furious franchise would arrive with Furious 8 hitting theaters on April 14th, 2017, but that's not the only release date news that the studio had in store. They've also announced dates for some forthcoming films like the sequels to Fifty Shades of Grey, and also shifted some films arriving over the next few years, such as the video game adaptation Warcraft from Duncan Jones, the sci-fi sequel Pacific Rim 2 from Guillermo del Toro and the first official movie that kicks off Universal's classic movie monsters franchise reboot, The Mummy. Read on!
Even though the Fast & Furious franchise lost a key part of the film series with the death of Paul Walker, they gave him a wonderful send off in Furious 7, and the film has already grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide. Previously we heard Universal already had plans to keep the franchise going, and with that kind of box office bank, there was no way they were going to let it go. So it's only fitting that the Universal Pictures panel at CinemaCon brought out Vin Diesel to announce that Furious 8 will arrive on April 14th, 2017, keeping the franchise in the spring. But the script still needs to be written, and we don't know who will direct yet either. But this is Hollywood, and release dates come first before having a quality story.
Over the last few years, Disney has been buying a few big studios or partnering with them, between Marvel Studios, Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks and most recently Lucasfilm. This one Hollywood studio now has an incredibly diverse slate, and at their annual presentation during the movie theater owners' convention CinemaCon this week, they included a slide of their upcoming releases through 2017. We already know all of these release dates, so there's nothing new coming from this, but it's cool to see everything presented in this visual way with all of the logos included. Hell of a line-up, from Marvel mania to Star Wars galore, Toy Story 4, two Spielberg films, and even Ghost in the Shell. Take a look + click for bigger. Cue Disney theme.
Briefly: Perhaps it's the already crowded summer that was weighing heavily on Warner Bros. Pictures, but whatever the reason, the studio has decided to push back the release of their fantasy adaptation Pan from director Joe Wright. Originally slated for release this July, the film will now arrive on October 9th this fall. THR has a statement from Wright saying, "As you might expect, the fantastical story of Peter Pan involves very complex effects and I did not want to compromise on quality in finishing the film. This allows me and my team the time to complete the movie and tell the story the way it should be told." Pehaps the Hugh Jackman film just wasn't getting the kind of big buzz they wanted for a summer blockbuster.
Briefly: Even though the sequel Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials doesn't arrive until this fall, that's not stopping 20th Century Fox from setting a release date for the third and final chapter in the young adult sci-fi trilogy. ERC Box Office reports the studio has just set Maze Runner: The Death Cure for release on February 17th, 2017, which is a departure from the fall release window of the previous two films. And the good news, for fans who don't like their final chapter cut up like Harry Potter, The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games before this, The Death Cure will not be split in two. Since the second film hasn't been released yet, we don't want to say what the third will be about, but you can find out if you really want to.
Briefly: Last fall, Warner Bros. Pictures jostled around the dates for The LEGO Movie Sequel as well as the spin-offs Ninjago and LEGO Batman, but now they've been shaken up yet again. The biggest change is that Ninjago has been pushed back a year to a September 22nd, 2017 release date. Meanwhile, LEGO Batman has been moved up to February 10th 2017, a few months earlier than the previous May release date, and The LEGO Movie Sequel has been bumped up by a week to a May 18th, 2018 release. That means we'll be waiting awhile before we get more LEGO action on the big screen but hopefully it'll be worth it.
Late last year, DreamWorks Animation decided to move the sequel Kung Fu Panda 3 from a late release this year, to a spring release in 2016. However, it sounds like the animation studio and their new distribution partner 20th Century Fox want to give it some more room to breathe away from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, because THR reports they've bumped it up a couple months to a release on January 29th, 2016. That's a terrible release month, but that means this movie should have no problem performing well at the box office, which is exactly what the struggling DreamWorks Animation needs now.
Back in February, we learned that the opening night film of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival would be a documentary about "Saturday Night Live" perfectly titled Live from New York!. And while the debut of the film is still over a week away, those who can't attend the film festival in New York can take solace in knowing that the film has just been set for a theatrical release this summer on June 12th. This will be the first feature film documentary diving into the history of Lorne Michaels' iconic sketch show, the first and only of its kind, launching the careers of countless comedians for 40 years and still counting. More below!
Briefly: Last fall brought us our first look at the long-gestating adaptation of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, based on Seth Grahame-Smith's period romance novel remix of the same name. In the story, a zombie apocalypse has been ongoing for 70 years, and the Bennet sisters, Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Jane (Bella Heathcote), Elizabeth (Lily James), Mary (Millie Brady), and Kitty (Suki Waterhouse) are finally sick of it and ready to take on the undead. Now the film from Burr Steers (17 Again) has been given a release date of February 19th, 2016 from Screen Gems. It's not the best release date, but not entirely unexpected. Sam Riley and Jack Huston also star in the film, and we'll see if people show up next year.
If you've been skeptical about Warner Bros. Pictures' reboot of the classic comedy Vacation, this news might change your tune. The studio is placing a lot of confidence in the comedy starring Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth because THR reports they've just bumped up the film from its original release date in October to a much better opening on July 31st this summer instead. That should make for some decent counter programming for anyone who isn't interested in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, which was also bumped up from its original Christmas Day release.
Earlier this year a viral video introduced us to Vincent D'Onofrio's character in Jurassic World, and we definitely got the vibe that he could be some sort of villainous character in the summer blockbuster. Plus, let's not forget that he's playing Kingpin in Netflix's series adaptation of "Daredevil" from Marvel Studios. Now the actor has lined up another key bad guy role as Variety reports D'Onofrio will be giving Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke some trouble in MGM and Sony's remake of The Magnificent Seven, which in itself was a remake of Akira Kurosawa's classic Seven Samurai. So who will he play?
Briefly: Even though Michael Keaton didn't win an Oscar for his performance in Birdman, it sounds like The Weinstein Company thinks he's got another chance with his next project The Founder. Keaton is playing Ray Kroc, the salesman from Illinois who picked up a burger operation in 1950s Southern California and turned it into McDonald's, which would become a multi-billion dollar fast-food chain in the world. The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock will be at the helm of the film with a script from Big Fan scribe Robert Siegel, and now THR reports the film has been set for a pretty prime awards season release on November 25th, 2016. We'll certainly be looking forward to seeing this one late next year. Stay tuned.
Briefly: Warner Bros. Pictures is making some changes to their release schedule for next summer. Shane Black's next film, The Nice Guys, starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe has just been bumped up a month to a release on May 20th, 2016. And that's because the studio is giving a prime June 17th, 2016 release to their forthcoming buddy comedy Central Intelligence starring box office draws Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. It sounds like Warner Bros. has a lot of confidence in both films to release them in the blockbuster summer season, but each could be some nice counter-programming to the big tentpoles.
Following yesterday's news that Star Wars: Episode VIII would arrive on May 26th, 2017, bringing the sci-fi saga back to summer where it belongs, 20th Century Fox made a smart decision to move one of their blockbusters out of the way. Though Fantastic Four 2 wasn't hitting theaters until June 2nd, 2017, the studio wants to give Disney (and themselves) another week of box office breathing room by moving the comic book sequel back one week to June 9th, 2017. It's not a big move, but one extra week will give more people time to see Episode VIII without harming the box office gross of Fantastic Four 2, so it's a good call.