The very foundation of Hollywood is about to break: the final installment in a feature film adaptation of a YA book series is not being split in half. I’m not sure how the entertainment world is going to cope, but we’ll get through this together.
Indeed, Exhibitor Relations reports that 20th Century Fox has just set a February 17, 2017 release date for Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which is the third and final book in The Maze Runner trilogy by author James Dashner. Of course Dashner also wrote a prequel titled The Kill Order, with another prequel (The Fever Code) due to drop in 2016, so it’s possible Fox could always extend the film series by adapting these books, but the Maze Runner series proper looks poised to conclude in early 2017 with one movie.
The Dylan O’Brien-fronted first film in the post-apocalyptic series was a solid success at the box office when it hit theaters last fall, going on to gross $340.8 million worldwide and drawing fairly positive notices from critics. Fox moved incredibly quickly on the follow-up, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, with that film set for release this September.
Director Wes Ball returned to helm The Scorch Trials, but it’s unclear if he’ll see the full trilogy through by coming back for The Death Cure. This new release date gives Fox a little bit more breathing room between installments so it’s possible they’re allowing themselves time to find a new filmmaker, or maybe Ball just needs a bit of a breather after helming two films back-to-back for his feature debut. Regardless, the Maze Runner film series is here to stay, and refreshingly the final installment is not being stretched into two separate movies for once.
In other release date news, director Ang Lee’s Iraq War satire Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk has been slated for November 11, 2016, no doubt in the heat of awards season. The film—which mostly takes place over the course of one day as a group of Iraq War veterans are on a “Victory Tour” in Texas—boasts a solid ensemble that includes Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Steve Martin, Vin Diesel, and Chris Tucker.
Production on Billy Lynn is about to get underway, but Lee is shooting in native 3D with ultra-high frame rate digital cameras, so the far-off release date will give him time to fine-tune the tech in the editing room. The picture currently has that weekend all to itself, but it will open one week after Marvel’s Doctor Strange and one week before Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. November 2016 is shaping up to be a hum-dinger.