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Fox is having a hard time in the superhero department this year. Yes, Deadpool was a massive success, and while X-Men: Apocalypse is doing well, it hasn't quite surpassed its predecessor Days of Future Past at the box office. Perhaps no film reflects Fox's current troubles as much as Gambit. The Ragin' Cajun's journey to the big screen has suffered a plague of setbacks and delays practically ever since it was first announced. The film was originally scheduled to release in October of this year, but it was continually pushed back due to behind-the-scenes drama. Gambit was supposed to begin filming at the end of this year, but now director Doug Liman has reportedly lined up another project that would film at this time. He hasn't officially left Gambit, but it isn't looking good.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Doug Liman is circling to direct Lionsgate's upcoming Young Adult adaptation, Chaos Walking. Based on the trilogy written by Patrick Ness, the story takes place in a world where there are no women and all living creatures can hear each other's thoughts. Liman will replace Oscar winner Robert Zemeckis, who was originally tapped to direct. The film has a pretty impressive amount of pedigree, with a screenplay written by the legendary Charlie Kaufman. There are no official announcements of Liman's involvement yet, but the fact that he's looking for work can't be great for Gambit.
This is the latest in a line of roadblocks for the solo film. A number of directors reportedly turned down the project before Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) signed on, before eventually leaving. This was followed by rumors that star Channing Tatum was considering leaving the film as well. Doug Liman joined the film before it was pushed back due to rewrites. In the mean time Liman went to direct Amazon's first feature film, The Wall, and it was assumed that production would finally begin once he was finished. Now that Chaos Walking is in the works, the movie may be in more trouble than we previously thought.
Fox may have to rethink their strategy when it comes to superhero films. Gambit is similar to Deadpool in the sense that it would be made on a smaller budget and have smaller stakes, but it doesn't have the same spirit or following that Deadpool needed to be a success. With the failure that was last summer's Fantastic Four reboot and X-Men: Apocalypse slightly missing the mark, there could be a lot of pressure on Gambit to be a success. It looks less and less likely that Gambit will happen, but time will tell if this movie ever gets made with all its pieces intact. Fingers crossed that the New Mutants movie has an easier road ahead of it.