Hot on the heels of the news that A Cure for Wellness and Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski is taking the helm of 20th Century Fox’s long-developed Gambit movie, the X-Men spinoff officially has a new release date. In a fitting move for one of Marvel’s more romantic, smooth-talking mutants — who’ll be played by bonafide heartthrob Channing Tatum, no less — Gambit is now set to arrive in theaters on Feb. 14, 2019.
While that once would have been a somewhat insane and off-limits time of year to release a tentpole superhero movie, studios have made a distinct shift toward a year-round blockbuster release schedule over the past few years. Fox hit gold with the unexpected release date when they released Deadpool in the 2016 Valentine’s Day slot. The modestly-budgeted film went on to make $783 worldwide, so if the studio finds it a favorable day, I don’t blame them.
However, I also wonder if it reflects the type of Gambit movie they’re making. Deadpool was just as much a love story as it was a superhero movie, and the brilliant marketing campaign pitched it as an alternative romantic treat to the traditional rom-coms and Nicholas Sparks pics you’d normally find on the mid-February lineup. After all, he an Rogue have one of the best-known Marvel romances, but it seems unlikely they’d tap that resource for an origin story. That said, his origin story does involve one miss Bella Donna Boudreaux, who Lea Seydoux was attached to play in 2015.
Gambit has had a rough road to this point, losing two major directors and facing a series of delays after Tatum was first announced for the role at Comic-Con back in 2015. Doug Liman (American Made) and Rupert Wyatt (War for the Planet of The Apes) were both previously attached to helm the film. Wyatt exited in October 2015 after a “push in the start date” conflicted with another project. Liman signed on after him, but the film continued to be pushed and he exited in August 2016.