UPDATE: Following the delay of the untitled next Planet of the Apes movie by Fox out of 2016, Universal moved their next untitled Bourne movie into Apes’ old spot on July 29th, 2016. This means Bourne 5 will now open two weeks later than planned.
Original story follows:
20th Century Fox is coming off of a standout year in 2014. Achieving a new yearly box office record, Fox took in an overall worldwide sum of $5.5 billion earned in 2014, which is one nice chunk of change! The bulk of these earnings came from three excellent and highly lucrative Summer blockbusters; X-Men: Days of Future Past, How To Train Your Dragon 2, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, all of which we also loved, awarding a 92%, 97% and 95% rating to, respectively. Rio 2, The Fault in Our Stars, The Maze Runner, and Gone Girl were also cited as big earners for the studio last year.
With such an excellent year behind them, Fox has naturally started to look to the future. They’ve just delivered a revised blockbuster schedule through 2017, which has included a few date shuffles, and the confirmation of a long-rumoured project in one of their most beloved movie franchises.
After plenty of rumours began circulating about a potential X-Men movie spin-off centering on fan-favourite mutant, Gambit, Fox made the news official today. The tentatively titled Gambit will be released in theatres on October 7th, 2016! Channing Tatum has also confirmed the news on his Twitter feed, and will headline the movie in the title role. The character was previously portrayed by Taylor Kitsch in the ill-received 2009 prequel/spin-off movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a movie that the studio has since declared non-canon for the X-Men movie franchise.
This will certainly make 2016 a huge year for the X-Men franchise, since Fox is now releasing a staggering three movies set in the X-Men movie universe in that same year at this point! Tatum will supposedly be debuting his Gambit in prequel trilogy conclusion, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27th, 2016, mere months before his spin-off movie arrives, and at the start of the year, Ryan Reynolds will be headlining another spin-off, Deadpool in the title role. Reynolds also previously portrayed a pre-Deadpool Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. These three projects join three other Marvel movies in 2016, with Sony planning to release a villain-centric spin-off set in their Amazing Spider-Man movie universe, Sinister Six that November, and Marvel themselves delivering two new movies to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that year, the first being a third Captain America movie to kick off May’s Summer blockbuster season, Captain America: Civil War, and the second being a November franchise debut, Doctor Strange.
Fox’s plans for a third Wolverine movie remain unchanged, with the currently-untitled movie still scheduled for March 3rd, 2017, and Hugh Jackman still working out a deal to reprise his famous role as the clawed mutant. Fox is also developing another X-Men movie project for 2018, which was believed to be either Deadpool or Gambit at first, before both got scheduled for 2016. It would seem then that this 2018 movie would indeed be X-Force, a spin-off planned to center on a more militant, futuristic team of mutants, so far confirmed to comprise Cable, and Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool. Fox hasn’t confirmed this yet however, and rumour has it that they are also debating making X-Force a television series instead, though one that is still set in their X-Men movie universe.
This is all great news for X-Men fans, but another esteemed Fox franchise has suffered a bit of a blow too. The currently-untitled follow-up to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, originally scheduled for 2016, has been delayed over a year, and will now release on July 14th, 2017. Fox didn’t clarify why the delay was necessary. Fox’s currently-untitled sequel to their Marvel reboot, The Fantastic Four has now moved into a new date on account of the shuffle with the upcoming Planet of the Apes project, and will now release over a month earlier, on June 2nd, 2017. Interestingly, Fox also bumped How To Train Your Dragon 3 into 2017 earlier in the Summer, despite initially planning it for a 2016 release as well.
This would seem to indicate that Fox is attempting to leverage their Marvel properties first and foremost, which isn’t a surprise, given that Marvel also had a standout year of both superb and lucrative blockbusters in 2014. This means that new projects related to X-Men and The Fantastic Four are being fast-tracked and getting the bulk of the studio’s production resources, even if it comes at the expense of other properties, even successful ones like Planet of the Apes and How To Train Your Dragon.
Lastly, Fox has set a new date for video game-to-film adaptation, Assassin’s Creed, starring Michael Fassbender. After being indefinitely delayed out of its planned August 7th, 2015 date (which was later filled by The Fantastic Four after a slight delay out of this June), Fox has slotted Assassin’s Creed in for December 21st, 2016, mere days before Christmas. While not explicitly stated, the delay no doubt came about after difficulties with casting and getting production going, with Fassbender still being the only actor officially signed for the movie, and almost no details revealed about the project, beyond inside sources claiming that the movie’s key events will be set during the Spanish Inquisition, and Fassbender will be playing both a Spanish assassin, and a modern-day convict that is captured by Abstergo in their war against the Assassins. Hopefully, the move to late 2016 is enough time to get the movie going.
What do you think of the new dates? Are you bummed about having to wait longer for a new Planet of the Apes movie? Are you excited, indifferent or outright upset at the revelation of a Gambit movie? Are you happy to see Assassin’s Creed get a new date? As usual, your comments are welcome below.
Keep reeling back to Eggplante for all news and updates relating to 20th Century Fox’s high-profile movie releases, along with the blockbuster schedules of other studios.