The Purge: Anarchy's Release Date Gets Pushed
If there was any 2013 hit that proved divisive, it was The Purge. On opening weekend audiences clogged theaters for the thriller - which told the story of a future where for one whole night all crime is legal - but word-of-mouth was ragged and the picture failed to double its robust opening weekend. With a global gross of $89 million on a budget of only $3 million, however, it was hard to quarrel with the fact that Platinum Dunes had found another horror franchise, this time without strip-mining a previously-established classic.
Now, audiences are primed for The Purge: Anarchy (redundant title?), but they’re going to have to wait a little longer to see it. The movie has been pushed from its original June 20th release date to July 18th, nearly a full month later. Writer/director James DeMonaco returns, and this time the story deals with an entirely new cast of characters, played by Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Michael K. Williams (Omar’s participating in the Purge??) and the forever-underrated Frank Grillo. It appears the plot is fairly similar, but instead of a home invasion storyline the movie will take to the streets for mass carnage.
What's the strategy? Bumping it a full month suggests they’re going to refocus the marketing campaign. The trailer, which can be seen below, seems to quietly undersell the expansion of the world established in the first film. We’re likely to get another trailer soon, possibly a red-band one that shows us a considerable amount more. Hopefully more Grillo, as that guy makes everything better. The original date saw the low-budget actioner matching up against Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys and Think Like A Man Too, and it looks as if distributor Universal Pictures saw the potential for some demographic spillover into one of those titles. It was also coming a week after 22 Jump Street, another R-rated crowd-pleaser aimed at younger adult audiences. You could see how with the right marketing this could have opened like the first film, and with the wrong ads this would have been received similarly to Hostel Part II, which debuted to half the numbers of its predecessor.
The new release date is slightly weaker, however, and should benefit the young adults who want to see the film but can’t choose between other options. What this means is that Universal sees blood in the water, and it belongs to Warner Bros.: this date shift places The Purge: Anarchy against the Wachowskis’ $200 million Jupiter Ascending. The sci-fi actioner originally had the weekend, and that demographic, to themselves and families would have opted for the other release that weekend, the needless Planes: Fire And Rescue. Now the big expensive Channing Tatum star vehicle has to cope with the low budget suspense thriller, and it’s the sort of aggressive strategy that suggests Universal has high hopes for the second in what is expected to be a long-running franchise.
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