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In a surprise move, Warner Bros. has taken David Dobkin‘s Arthur & Lancelot off its release calendar in order to iron out several issues, including a large budget.
The new take on the King Arthur legend, starring Kit Harington and Joel Kinnaman, was supposed to open March 15, 2013.
In a second major move, Warners moved back Bryan Singer‘s fantasy Jack the Giant Killer 3D by nine months to March 22, 2013. It had been set to open June 15, 2012. In a more minor tweak, New Line and Warners’ Rock of Ages is being pushed back by two weeks, from June 1, 2012, to June 15, 2012.
Dobkin called talent and crew Wednesday night to inform them that Lancelot “wasn’t looking good.”
The studio says it is trying to address the movie’s issues. “We are trying to make it work. It’s not dead,” says a Warners insider.
The reimagining of the King Arthur myth is new territory for Dobkin, a helmer best known for comedies including Wedding Crashers. After an exhaustive search, Harington and Kinnaman were picked to play King Arthur and his most loyal knight, Lancelot, respectively. The film is intended to be a lighthearted action pic, similar in tone to Warners’ successful Sherlock Holmes franchise.
But the budget for the project soared from less than $100 million to $130 million, prompting Warners to ask for cuts. Adding to the complication was the untested box-office power of the two actors, both of whom have drawn raves for their television work but have yet to carry a movie.
If the film does move ahead, it could be without one or both actors because of scheduling issues (Dobkin was supposed to start shooting in spring 2012).
Kinnaman is shooting AMC’s The Killing and was due to segue into Arthur & Lancelot, but Harington was meant to do the movie before returning to his hit show Game of Thrones, which is due to start shooting in the spring. If ironing out the issues takes too long, he could be the first casualty.
Warners can likely afford to move back Jack the Giant Killer because of Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises, which opens in July. And pushing the film back gives the studio more time for special effects, as well as a chance to attach trailers for it to Peter Jackson‘s Christmas tentpole The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
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