Wednesday, January 20, 2016

'Star Wars: Episode VIII' pushed back to December 15, 2017

It's safe to say that Disney's relaunch of the classic Star Wars franchise in 2015 could not have gone any better. Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens outperformed even the most astronomical of expectations, grossing $861.3 million in the US and over $1.873 billion worldwide- and these numbers are still growing. In addition to that, word of mouth was phenomenal and critics adored the film, awarding it a 93% score on Rotten Tomatoes and an 81 on Metacritic. And despite the lack of a Best Picture nomination, The Force Awakens performed well at the Oscars too, snagging five nominations for many technical categories. Highest grossing film of all time in the US, critical smash, fan favorite- yeah, I'd say that they knocked this one out of the park. One of the reasons that The Force Awakens ended up being so successful was its prime December release date. Before the seventh installment, every Star Wars film had opened in May and found success. J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm bucked that trend, moving the film to a December release date where it had both a massive opening weekend and great holiday legs. It worked well for everyone involved, so why mess with a good thing? Episode VIII may have been set for a May 2017 release date, but I think we all knew that this move was coming.

Earlier today, Disney and Lucasfilm announced that Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII will now hit theaters on December 15, 2017. This gives more time for Johnson and his team to touch up the script, and it permanently sets the idea that a Star Wars movie is a holiday event, similar to what Peter Jackson and New Line did with both The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises. Episode VIII will debut two years after The Force Awakens rejuvenated the series, and one year after Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first spin-off movie in the new Star Wars canon. But in December 2017, Episode VIII will not be alone. The eighth film in the saga will face off against Steven Spielberg's hotly anticipated Ready Player One on the December 15th date, as well as The Croods 2, The Six Billion Dollar Man and The Greatest Showman on Earth over the holiday season. In addition to that, James Cameron has stated that he plans to have Avatar 2 ready in time for Christmas 2017, which opens up the possibility of all-out anarchy at the box office. I'm placing my bets on Avatar moving to a different date, but it's an interesting scenario nonetheless.

As a Star Wars fan, I'm disappointed that I'm going to have to wait another seven months for this film. But in all honesty, I think I can handle it. As I said before, many pundits had predicted that Disney would maximize on the holiday season profits by moving Episode VIII to December and on top of that, there had been plenty of talk about rewrites on the script. I believe that we'll get a better film because of this, and I have good faith that Rian Johnson will make it worth the wait. Star Wars: Episode VIII stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford (?), Domnhall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Benicio Del Toro and will debut on December 15, 2017.

Image Credits: Variety, Joblo

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