As 20th Century Fox’s R-rated Marvel blockbuster, Deadpool continues to slaughter the competition at the box office, with its earnings now surpassing $600 million worldwide as of this weekend (putting it well on track to dethrone 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded as the top-grossing R-rated movie of all time), Fox has looked ahead to their upcoming Marvel movie slate, and made a couple of changes, while also reserving dates for some mystery projects. The shuffles also affect a few other Fox blockbusters beyond their couple of Marvel brands as well.
First, one of 2016’s many planned superhero movies, X-Men spin-off, Gambit, has been indefinitely delayed out of its original October 7th, 2016 release date, and is currently absent from Fox’s release schedule. This is no doubt predictable to movie industry watchers, as Gambit recently swapped directors, from Rupert Wyatt to Doug Liman, and won’t be ready to go into production for its planned March 2016 timetable. Fox stresses that Gambit isn’t cancelled, but the spin-off will likely not hit theatres until at least next year now, once they figure out where to put it.
On that note however, Fox has also reserved two dates for a couple of mystery Marvel-licensed movies, with one being October 6th, 2017 (pitting it against Warner Bros.’ Jungle Book: Origins), and the other being January 12th, 2018 (pitting it against Warner Bros.’ Blade Runner 2 and Paramount’s Sherlock Gnomes). It’s anyone’s guess as to what these movies are, though October 6th could very well be the new planned date for Gambit, with Fox not explicitly identifying the movie as being in place for that date yet, in case they run into more production snafus.
January 12th is more likely being reserved for Deadpool 2, a sequel that has already been green-lit and is currently being written. It’s possible however that Fox may have reserved the dates without identifying the specific movies, so they can slot Deadpool 2 in October if it’s finished first and Gambit in January if it’s finished second, or vice-versa, for example. There’s also the possibility that these movies could end up being something else entirely, of course, since Fox is more gung-ho than ever about expanding their X-Men film universe, given its recent big successes such as Deadpool and X-Men: Days of Future Past. The studio has previously confirmed that it’s also developing movies based on X-Men comic spin-offs, X-Force and New Mutants, though neither currently have release dates at present.
Disappointingly, Fox didn’t provide an update on the Fantastic Four movie license, which rumour states might be either shared with Marvel going forward, in a similar deal as what Sony Pictures inked with Marvel over the Spider-Man film rights last year, or sold back to Marvel wholesale, very soon. Fox’s disastrous Fantastic Four reboot movie from last year tied with Fifty Shades of Grey for the Razzie Award of ‘Worst Picture’ for 2015 today, along with “winning” a few other Razzie awards while it was at it, including ‘Worst Director’ for the movie’s helmer, Josh Trank, and ‘Worst Remake/Rip-off/Sequel’.
Fantastic Four being 2015’s worst box office bomb (having Fox eat a loss of approximately $80 million), and being one of the most hated movies of last year by critics, fans and general moviegoers alike, led to Fox removing the planned sequel from their production schedule. Given previous evidence from Marvel’s licensing deals, this would likely mean that Marvel would re-assume creative control of the license next year, with a two-year deadline being given for one mandatory sequel in Marvel’s other movie licensing deals, even though Fox maintains the right to seize distribution fees and revenue, should Marvel make a new dedicated Fantastic Four movie for their shared Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s believed by some that Fox is intentionally allowing this to happen, as their key offering to Marvel for the rights to two X-Men television spin-offs that Marvel recently licensed to them, especially since Fox wouldn’t need to be notified or compensated if Marvel used any separate characters or locations that fall under the Fantastic Four movie license, in MCU projects that don’t bear the ‘Fantastic Four‘ brand.
Beyond Fox’s domain of Marvel licenses, the studio also shuffled a couple of other dates today. To start, Prometheus sequel, Alien: Covenant has been moved up slightly, and will now hit theatres on August 4th, 2017 (placing it against Universal’s Pitch Perfect 3 and Open Road Films’ Blazing Samurai), with its old October 6th, 2017 date now going to one of Fox’s mystery Marvel-licensed movies. Fox also set a release date for the long-awaited sequel in Alien’s sibling franchise, Predator, for March 2nd, 2018, with the movie officially being titled ‘The Predator‘, and holding this date to itself for now. Fox has also bumped up Tim Burton flick, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, from this Christmas Day to this September 30th, moved Fox Animation’s Ferdinand back from April 7th, 2017 to July 21st, 2017 (it now faces Warner Bros.’ Dunkirk and EuropaCorp’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets), delayed comedy, Why Him from this November to this Christmas Day, and finally, has removed romantic drama, The Mountain Between Us from its schedule entirely for now.
Keep reeling Eggplante for all major news and updates related to 20th Century Fox’s blockbuster release schedule.