As the box office news for Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally starts to slow it’s previously feverish pace (though it did just cross $100 million in China alone recently), movie marketing and fan anticipation is already starting to look ahead to future films. Let’s not forget that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is due out December 16th, 2016, but less than a year after that, the follow-up to The Force Awakens will debut in the lucrative mid-December slot.
It was announced today that Disney would be moving their release date for Star Wars: Episode VIII from May 26, 2017 to December 15, 2017. They must have read our own Adam Chitwood’s editorial in which he posited that the strong box office success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens might nudge Disney into shifting all of its related release dates into December. (Hopefully Adam now gets a cut of those profits as a Release Date Consultant.) We’ll have to see if the Untitled Han Solo Anthology Film and Star Wars: Episode IX follow suit since they’re currently marked for May of 2018 and 2019 respectively. December is the new summer!
Now writer-director Rian Johnson has a few more months to get Episode 8 all shipshape and the post-production team will have that glorious amount of time to smooth the edges on practical and digital effects while polishing everything to a lens flare-worthy shine. Other than answering all of the fans’ many questions concerning the saga’s plot and characters, Star Wars: Episode VIII will also have to stand up to the critical scrutiny of both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the high-water mark of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. The big test for the film’s financial success will be the heir apparent to the box office throne, Avatar 2, which opens December 25, 2017.
As for the vacant date of May 26, 2017, that will now be filmed by another mega-franchise installment for Disney, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Otherwise known as the fifth feature film in the high-seas adventure series, PotC:DMTNT was previously expected to hit theaters on July 7th, but will now enjoy the late May release.
This morning, The Walt Disney Studios announced new release dates for upcoming films from two of its major franchises.
Star Wars: Episode VIII, originally scheduled for release on May 26, 2017, will now debut on December 15, 2017. The move follows the extraordinary success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was the first Star Wars movie to premiere in December. In the popular holiday moviegoing corridor, it smashed numerous records, including biggest domestic and global debuts of all time as well as the biggest domestic second and third weekends, en route to becoming the highest grossing domestic release of all time with over $861M and the third biggest global release ever with $1.887B.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: Episode VIII is currently in pre-production and will begin principal photography in London next month. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman will produce and J.J. Abrams, Tom Karnowski, and Jason McGatlin will executive produce. Stay tuned to StarWars.com for exciting updates in the coming weeks.
With Star Wars: Episode VIII jumping to December, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will set sail on May 26, 2017, from its previously scheduled July 7, 2017, berth. The blockbuster franchise’s previous installment, the $1B-grossing Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, also debuted in late May.
In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow with Geoffrey Rush back on board as Barbossa, Orlando Bloom resurfacing as Will Turner, and a terrifying new adversary, Captain Salazar, played by Javier Bardem, in the mix. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, the film is currently in post-production.
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