Box-Office Showdown: 'Stars Wars: Episode VIII' to Take on New Lego Movie

Disney announced the 2017 'Star Wars' release date during Thursday's shareholders meeting.

Get ready for a Star Wars vs. Lego showdown at the multiplex. 

On Thursday, Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced that Star Wars: Episode VIII would hit theaters May 26, 2017 — a date already claimed by Warner Bros. for its untitled Lego movie, which is most likely the Lego Batman spinoff.

Episode VIII will open exactly 40 years and one day after George Lucas' original Stars Wars debuted. Episode VIII is the follow-up to J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, which opens Dec. 18 and relaunches the franchise under the control of Disney, now parent company of Lucasfilm.

Looper helmer Rian Johnson is directing and writing Episode VIII.

Launching the tentpole over Memorial Day weekend in 2017 gives Disney four likely goliaths in summer 2017. Episode VIII launches in theaters three weeks after Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy 2 debuts (May 5), while Pixar's Toy Story 4 is set to open June 16, followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales on July 7.

It remains to be seen whether Warner Bros. will decide to relocate its Lego movie. Episode VII has virtually no competition, with no rival studio daring to go up against it. At the same time, the Memorial Day holiday is a huge moviegoing corridor, and the first Lego Movie was a runaway hit, earning  $468.8 million worldwide.

Seth Grahame-Smith wrote the script for the Lego spinoff, and Chris McKay will direct. Will Arnett is starring as the voice of the animated Caped Crusader.

Both Episode VIII and the Lego film open one week after Paramount's Terminator 2.

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