Box-Office Showdown: STX's 'Space Between Us' to Take on Jennifer Lawrence's 'Passengers'

The Space Between Us H 2016
Courtesy of STX Entertainment

'Space Between Us,' starring Asa Butterfield as the first human born on on Mars who travels to Earth, had been set to open in August but will now roll out in theaters over Christmas; Chris Pratt stars opposite Lawrence in 'Passengers.'

Fans of outer space will now have two sci-fi adventures with a little bit of romance mixed in to choose from this Christmas.

STX Entertainment has pushed back the release of The Space Between Us from Aug. 19 to Dec. 21 — the same day that Sony had already staked out for Passengers, the high-profile space epic starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.

And both movies launch one week after spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens on Dec. 16.

Director Peter Chelsom's Space Between Us stars Asa Butterfield as the first human born on Mars (his mother, an astronaut, died during childbirth and he was raised in secret). When he's 16, the boy travels to Earth, embarking on a road trip across America with a young woman (Britt Robertson) in hopes of finding his father. But the space program wants to send him back to Mars, since his body can't handle Earth's environment. Gary Oldman and Carla Gugino also star.

Morten Tyldum-helmed Passengers is set on a spaceship transporting thousands of sleeping humans to a distant colony. Two of the people awake prematurely only to find they are 90 years away from their destination.

The two movies are certainly different in terms of story and could skew differently demo-wise, with Space Between Us playing to the YA crowd. However, both are counting on appealing to all audiences over the lucrative Christmas corridor, when schools are on break and many adults are off of work.

STX insiders say its movie is indeed well suited for the year-end holidays, which can sustain more films than any other time of the year.

The two other pics scheduled to open nationwide on Dec. 21 are Assassin's Creed, starring Michael Fassbender, and Illumination Entertainment and Universal's animated tentpole Sing. They will be followed on Christmas Day by the Bryan Cranston and James Franco comedy Why Him?