We have to admit, we were beginning to wonder what was going on with Neill Blomkamp's expensive, mysterious "Elysium." With a release dating looming about five months from now and no posters, teaser trailers, stills or any other kind of marketing, we figured either that a) Sony was going to start a blitzkrieg campaign once they were done with "Skyfall" or b) it was getting pushed back. Now we have our answer.
The studio has moved the movie from its previously slotted March 1, 2013 date all the way back to August 9, 2013. You might recall that's the spot Sony already had for their "RoboCop" remake -- well, that too is being moved, heading to a February 7, 2014 slot. Should we be worried? On the one hand, Blomkamp's film has a big mountain to climb with audiences in terms of presenting a genre that's generally a hard sell (even with Matt Damon in the lead) and not based on any pre-existing brand. Shifting to August allows Sony a second shot at Comic-Con in July before it hits theaters. On the other hand, slotting this kind of original movie at the tail end of summer could be prohibitive in helping it find an audience and legging out. But then again, it doesn't have much competition at the moment except for the Jason Sudeikis/Jennifer Aniston road trip pot comedy "We're The Millers." It also leaves a big gap open on March 1st that is now only occupied by Park Chan-Wook's "Stoker."
As for "RoboCop," February seems to be becoming a place where surprises can happen. This year saw "Safe House" become a big hit in winter, Martin Scorsese also did well with that frame not too long ago with "Shutter Island" and "A Good Day To Die Hard" will likely do some business this Valentine's Day in a similar slot. And considering filming has only recently got underway, it gives Jose Padilha more breathing room to get his first Hollywood blockbuster done right, rather than rushed. However, it will face the Aaron Paul led "Need For Speed" on the same weekend. Videogame adaptation or remake? Nerds will have a tough choice.
In other release date news: "Saving Mr. Banks," the behind-the-scenes drama about "Mary Poppins," starring Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Emma Thompson, Paul Giamatti and more will land appropriately in Oscar season on December 20, 2013. Meanwhile, "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" has been pushed back two more weeks to January 25, 2013 presumably to ensure it can lock down the 3D and IMAX screens it needs. [BoxOfficeMojo]