Andy and Lana Wachowski‘s latest big-budget sci-fi adventure Jupiter Ascending initially looked to be one of this summer movie season’s oddest entries, but no more. For reasons that have yet to be made clear Warner Bros., which co-financed the $150 million tentpole blockbuster wannabe with Village Roadshow, has moved the film out of its original July 18, 2014 release date and rescheduled it for next February.
I can’t say that I’m surprised by this move. With no major stars and a storyline not based on any existing fictional properties Jupiter faced potential stiff competition on opening weekend from the likes of Planes: Fire and Rescue, The Purge: Anarchy, and Sex Tape, not to mention only getting two weeks to make its mark on audiences before Guardians of the Galaxy debuted.
But shifting the release to early next year offers its own set of challenges for box office supremacy. Now that Jupiter is opening on February 6, 2015 it will be pitted against the Johnny Depp-starring Mortdecai. The weeks that follow will have the likes of Fifty Shades of Grey, SpongeBob SquarePants 2, the Poltergeist remake, and the Sean Penn action-drama The Gunman all looking to take a big bite out of Jupiter’s potential earnings. But the last time a movie featuring Channing Tatum was delayed from its original summer release G.I. Joe: Retaliation did pretty well at the box office.
Perhaps the seven-month delay will allow the studio to mount a decent marketing campaign and get a modest return on their sizable investment. If the move has anything to do with the quality of the film itself – I wonder if has been test-screened yet – then this could also be a last-ditch effort to salvage what could be a costly embarrassment for all involved.
We will see for ourselves next year when Jupiter Ascending, which co-stars Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne, and Sean Bean, opens on February 6, 2015.