STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Will open in 3D on December 18, 2015; Brad Bird’s TOMORROWLAND Moved Back to May 22, 2015

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After much speculation, Disney has announced that J.J. AbramsStar Wars: Episode VII will open in 3D on December 18, 2015.  It will be the first Star Wars movie to be released outside of May.  As we previously reported, Disney refused to move the film to 2016, and in order to meet the studio’s time frame, Abrams teamed up with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) to handle the script.

At first it seems like the move gives Disney some breathing room between Star Wars and the studio’s other 2015 behemoth, The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  However, Disney has also announced that Brad Bird‘s Tomorrowland has been pushed from November 2014 to May 22, 2015, which is just three weeks after Joss Whedon’s highly-anticipated sequel and a week before Pixar’s Inside Out.  Hit the jump for more.

Walt Disney Pictures logoThe December date isn’t much of a shock, although I’m sure it will disappoint some traditionalists who believe that a Star Wars movie shouldn’t open in any month other than May.  I would think that the bigger disappointment is that the movie will be in 3D (Disney didn’t specify if it will be shot in 3D or post-converted).  Nevertheless, the move makes sense not only in terms of getting away from Avengers, but also from a completely bonkers summer 2015.  In addition to The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Inside Out, and now Tomorrowland, the season also includes (in current release order) Jurassic World, Assassin’s Creed, Ted 2, Terminator, Independence Day 2, Minions, Batman vs. Superman, and Ant-Man.  By comparison, the biggest competition in December is Universal’s adaptation of the video game Warcraft, which is also set for the 18th.  The orcs are probably going to have to make way for the Jedi.

Here’s the official announcement from Disney:

With pre-production in full-swing, a confirmed release date of December 18, 2015, has been set for Lucasfilm’s highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII.

“We’re very excited to share the official 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, where it will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture,” said Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios.

Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by J. J. Abrams (Super 8Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek)and is being scripted by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost ArkThe Empire Strikes BackReturn of the Jedi). Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper (Mission: Impossible – Ghost ProtocolJack RyanStar Trek Into Darkness) and Jason McGatlin (TintinWar of the Worlds) serving as executive producers. John Williams is returning to score Star Wars: Episode VII.

Shooting is scheduled to begin spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios.

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