At the 11th hour, Lana and Andy Wachowski‘s sci-fi epic Jupiter Ascending is being pushed back from July 18 to Feb. 6, 2015.
As a result, Liam Neeson‘s action movie Run All Night will now need to find a different home. That film had been set to open Feb. 6; a new date has yet to be announced.
Still, the move is a stunning one, considering Jupiter Ascending was to have been released in a little over six weeks. To boot, the February corridor is one of the quietest of the year, although Hollywood studios and exhibitors are trying to change that. Warners released Lego Movie in February, when it opened to a massive $69.1 million. It went on to gross $461.9 million worldwide.
Bad buzz likely sparked concern on the Warner Bros. lot, where the Wachowski siblings had longtime ties to former film studio chief Jeff Robinov. They also made The Matrix films for Warners.
Jupiter Ascending is an ambitious film starring Kunis as a lowly house cleaner who learns from an elf-eared, alien warrior who travels to earth (Tatum) that she is a galactic princess.
Warners is facing a potentially difficult summer and thus may have wanted to minimize its exposure. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore‘s recent comedy Blended stumbled badly, grossing less than $30 million to date, and Tom Cruise‘s upcoming sci-fi epic Edge of Tomorrow is battling soft tracking in North America despite stellar reviews.
Moving a high-profile film used to be considered the kiss of death, but that’s no longer the case, although any marketing spend can’t be recouped.
Likewise at the 11th hour, Paramount pushed G.I. Joe: Retaliation from its 2012 summer berth to March 2013 with no apparent downside in terms of the movie’s performance. The sequel took in $375.7 million worldwide, besting the first G.I. Joe ($302.5 million). In an even more famous move, Paramount pushed back the release of World War Z, which went on to become a global blockbuster.
In July 2012, Warners pushed back the release of Gangster Squad from September to January after the Aurora movie theaters shooting during a screening The Dark Knight Rises in order to rework the film and remove a scene of a movie-theater shooting. Gangster Squad didn’t do huge business, grossing $105.6 million globally.