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Thanks to the ever-growing trend of setting distant theatrical release dates, many features change the weekend or even month they'll be released in several times before they actually hit theaters. Universal is no stranger to that game of hot potato, as was clear today when it gave the Mummy reboot an opening date and shifted one of its upcoming efforts away from Star Wars: Episode VII, which was recently slotted on December 18, 2015. Duncan Jones’ upcoming big budget video game adaptation Warcraft has been pushed from that pre-Christmas date back to March 11, 2016.
A sign of fear? Or just a strategic move to make sure the young director has enough time to finish with what will no doubt be a massive post-production undertaking? It’s probably a mixture of the two. It’s unbelievable how many films are already slated to come out in 2016, but Legendary’s Warcraft is currently sitting alone on that March opening, a week after one of Disney’s next projects is planned to release.
Also set for 2016 is The Mummy, which is set for April 22. The film only recently found a director in Andrews Muschietti, who helmed the Guillermo dl Toro-produced horror Mama earlier this year. He’s a good choice, since the film will be embracing more of the classic horror elements in a modern day setting, but April really isn’t the time of year anyone wants to watch a dark and scary adventure flick, particularly one that reminds them of Brendan Fraser. I guess that means this one will be drowning just as much in CGI as the previous iterations.
Not just sticking to tentpoles, Universal also assigned Michael Mann’s next project to a release on January 16, 2015. The untitled cybercrime thriller stars Chris Hemsworth and Viola Davis, which is a good sign this film might make quite a bit of money. It will be going up against Fox’s upcoming Frankenstein reboot (or whatever they’re calling it), and I’d rather not consider what movie people would rather see.
A week later, on January 23, 2015, the studio will release Blumhouse Productions’ The Boy Next Door, the microbudget indie thriller directed by The Fast and the Furious’ Rob Cohen. It stars Jennifer Lopez and Kristen Chenoweth. And a couple of weeks later on February 6, they’ll release Gergey Bodrov’s CGI-filled fantasy The Seventh Son, starring Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore. It will go up against the Sony comedy The Wedding Ringer, and there’s actually already a trailer for it, which you can watch right here.
I have no idea why they’re waiting over a year to release Seventh Son, and it kind of feels like they’re just dumping the latter trio of films bunched together in the late winter months to hide them from the world. But perhaps they’re just trying to set themselves up for a multi-week streak of box office profits. Let’s all get together 15 months from now and talk about it.