Two of next year’s most anticipated blockbusters are getting their release dates shifted. Gore Verbinski‘s big screen adaptation of The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer has moved from May 31st to July 3rd, pitting it against Despicable Me 2 and 20th Century Fox’s 3D re-release of Independence Day. Meanwhile, the Marvel Studios sequel Thor 2 being directed by Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones) will now open on November 8th instead of November 15th, giving it a much-needed two-week head start before the release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
The Thor 2 release date move is a canny one as it will need all the time it can get before Catching Fire is released. While there’s no doubt that the original Thor was a successful film and has seen its following grow substantially in the wake of The Avengers, the first Hunger Games has the greatest appeal to younger moviegoers, particularly since both movies will be competing for those all-important holiday season dollars.
On the other hand, The Lone Ranger‘s move to the second biggest opening weekend slot of the Summer, the Fourth of July weekend, is either an indication of high confidence in the film on the part of Walt Disney Studios or a chance for the filmmakers to have more time to fine-tune what could be a difficult sell to summer movie audiences. At least it won’t have any serious competition that weekend; Despicable Me 2 will appeal to a younger age group and the Independence Day re-release could only pose a minor threat depending on the quality of the 3D post-conversion.
The Lone Ranger gallops onto screens on July 3, 2013 and Thor 2 will start swingin’ its hammer November 8, 2013.