For a film that was set to anchor 20th Century Fox’s post-WOLVERINE Marvel slate, GAMBIT is off to a bit of a rough start. First there were rumors that the film’s star Channing Tatum would walk away from the project over budget disputes. Shortly after, director Rupert Wyatt (RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES) had to drop out of the film due thanks to consistently pushed start dates that eventually brought him into conflict with prior commitments. Fox scored a coup when they landed EDGE OF TOMORROW director Doug Liman to take over at the helm, but with the October 2016 release date fast approaching, and production slated to begin in March, it seemed an impossible feat for any director to have a large-scale superhero film ready in such a short window. Today, Fox announced that GAMBIT has been given some breathing room as the studio has pulled the film’s 2016 release and dated two additional unnamed Marvel films.
GAMBIT will no longer arrive in theaters on it’s planned October 7th release date, and while a new release date has not been announced, Fox has slated two mystery Marvel projects for October 6, 2017, and January 12, 2018. The first film will face off against Andy Serkis‘ THE JUNGLE BOOK: ORIGINS, while the second will be pitted against Denis Villeneuve’s BLADE RUNNER sequel.
The October 6 date falls a year after GAMBIT’s intended release, and it’s possible that Fox has given Liman and Tatum the breathing (and schedule) room they need to make the film, especially considering its lead actor’s busy schedule. Tatum recently signed on for an R-rated musical comedy with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and is also set to reprise his role as Jenko in 23 JUMP STREET, though neither film currently has a release date. It’s also likely that the success of DEADPOOL has taken some of the weight of urgency off the film’s shoulders, as the studio is no longer scrambling to find a household name to lead their next gen of their mutant franchise.
As for that second date, a peculiar one indeed given that January is often considered a dumping ground month and definitely not a home for major studio releases. However, given DEADPOOL‘s unprecedented February success (Disney’s record-shattering December release for STAR WARS, for that matter), and the serious crowding of superhero films on the docket as we near the end of the decade, it makes sense that studios will lean toward a year-round tentpole schedule. That said, the odds are that this date either belongs to the X-FORCE film, which Ryan Reynolds recently called a “priority”, or more likely, the already-ordered DEADPOOL 2, which writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are currently writing. And then, of course, there’s the possibility that these dates belong to none of these things and Fox is going to totally blow our minds.
20th Century Fox announced a slew of new release dates this morning, but perhaps most exciting of all, the studio has set release dates for their two major monster pics, Ridley Scott’s ALIEN: COVENANT and THE PREDATOR.
ALIEN: COVENANT is up first, landing an August 4, 2017 release date, a smart move given that the date is currently only held by PITCH PERFECT 3 and the animated BLAZING SAMURAI, which aren’t exactly targeting the same audience. The PROMETHEUS semi-sequel, which is intended to be the second in a trilogy leading up to the events of ALIEN, COVENANT will supposedly pick up 10 years after the events in PROMETHEUS, and finds the crew of the colony ship Covenant headed for a remote planet, until they find a ‘paradise’ planet occupied solely by David (Michael Fassbender), the survivor of the Prometheus expedition.
Production on ALIEN: COVENANT is rumored to begin this April in Sydney, Australia and that start date makes sense given the rate at which the sequel has been acquiring its impressive cast. In addition to the returning Fassbender, Scott has lined-up Katherine Waterston as the female lead (Noomi Rapace will not return for the sequel), Demian Bichir, Danny McBride, Jussie Smollett, Amy Seimetz, Carmen Ejogo, Billy Crudup and Callie Hernandez. Scott has also confirmed that, in keeping with the ALIEN tradition, COVENANT will be rated-R.
As for THE PREDATOR, the highly-anticipated sequel/relaunch from a script by Shane Black and MONSTER SQUAD director Fred Dekker will arrive in theaters on March 2, 2018; a date that is currently only populated by an “Untitled WB Event Film”, which probably means something superhero-y. Aside from the exciting screenwriting duo, and the recently debuted first poster, not much is known about the sequel, other than producer John Davis‘ assertion that it will “re-invent the franchise.”
Fox has also pushed up the release for their Eva Green-led adaptation of MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN, which moves from a Christmas release to it’s new slow on September 30, 2016. The December release would have pitted the film against an insanely crowded month, including heavy hitters like ROGUE ONE, ASSASSIN’S CREED and Jennifer Lawrence/Chris Pratt vehicle PASSENGERS, while the new September positions MISS PEREGRINE in a significantly less competitive release schedule.