20th Century Fox has made a slight release date change for Fantastic Four 2, and in and of itself it seems like a fairly benign move, but there’s a reason for the shift—Star Wars. Earlier today, Disney announced that the Rian Johnson-directed Star Wars: Episode VIII will arrive in theaters on May 26, 2017, returning that franchise to its May haven following The Force Awakens’ unprecedented December release. Fox had originally scheduled the Fantastic Four sequel to drop on June 2nd, but the film will now open in theaters on June 9, 2017 according to The Projection List. Given that Star Wars is now opening the week before June 2nd, it’s probably smart to get a bit of breathing room between the two franchises.
Currently Fantastic Four 2 has that June 9th date all to itself, but it will be followed on June 16th by Pixar’s sure-to-be-huge Toy Story 4, so it’s not escaping box office competition altogether.
But honestly, this date is more of a placeholder for Fantastic Four 2 at this point in time. The first film hasn’t opened in theaters yet, so Fox doesn’t know how this new iteration of the franchise will be received. Chronicle director Josh Trank is at the helm, and he’s envisioned a grittier, David Cronenberg-inspired take on the Marvel Comic, with Miles Teller (Mr. Fantastic), Kate Mara (Invisible Girl), Michael B. Jordan (Human Torch), and Jamie Bell (The Thing) leading the cast.
Trank is attached to direct Disney’s second Star Wars standalone film after Gareth Edwards’ newly titled Rogue One, and while I imagine Fox would be keen to hold on to Trank for the Fantastic Four sequel, it’s unclear if he would practically be able to do both. Rogue One opens in December 2016 and Episode VIII in May 2017, so it’s possible Trank’s Star Wars film won’t hit theaters until December 2018. That makes it feasible for him to direct Fantastic Four 2 directly after Fantastic Four opens in theaters, readying it for 2017 release and then moving into Star Wars that summer, but it’d be a tight squeeze.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves, though. We’ve got Fox’s first film to attend to first. Fantastic Four opens in theaters on August 7th.