By Edward Davis | The Playlist April 11, 2014 at 2:10PM
Three major release dates were mentioned in the last 24 hours (minus the “Divergent” finale "Allegiant" being broken into two films of course). One has an unhappy ending (so far anyhow) and two are eyeing the horizon. Let’s start with the bad news: Natalie Portman’s troubled western “Jane Got a Gun” has been un-dated by Relativity Media. Originally scheduled for August 29th of this year,
Relativity has pulled the film off the calendar and have not set a new date for it. Update 04/25: "Jane Got A Gun" will open on February 20, 2015.
In its place, they have slotted “November Man” on August 27th, Roger Donaldson’s spy thriller starring Pierce Brosnan and Olga Kurylenko. ‘Jane’ made unwanted headlines last year when director Lynne Ramsay exited/was almost fired from the project a few days into filming. Lead actor Michael Fassbender quickly dropped out of the picture, and new director Gavin O’Connor (“Warrior”) was called in to take the reins. Both Jude Law and Bradley Cooper signed on to replace Fassbender as the movie’s villain and then both actors also quickly bailed. Ewan McGregor eventually stepped up to take the part. The un-dating doesn’t look great considering how troubled the production was, but August 29th is a terrible release date for a movie, regardless; a total dumping ground slot (same with the first week of September), so the proof will be in the new date when it arrives. Perhaps the film is actually more worthy of a better date and we’ll see it on the calendar later this year? Or perhaps it’ll be pushed to, say, spring 2015, which would suggest it’s more of a indie art film (which might be its best case scenario). Anything other than a January date, please.
Other future dates are also falling into place. Warner Bros. is putting a stake into the ground on July 22, 2016 for Guy Ritchie’s “King Arthur” movie, which hasn’t started casting, let alone shooting. But presumably that’s happening soon, they have confidence in the screenplay and are banking on it being an important summer tentpole for their business (the company has been hot to trot to put out a "Knights of The Roundtable" movie for several years now and almost went ahead with several different versions with director Dave Dobkins, but they all fell apart). Ritchie's film hopes to spawn a six-picture franchise. No joke.
Focus Features are feeling good about two of their upcoming films. One is “A Monster Calls,” by “The Impossible” filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona. Once a Black List script so hot, Alfonso Cuarón almost considered it his “Gravity” follow-up, the fantasy drama has been set for an October 14, 2016 release date (which is probably closer in spirit to Halloween release dates than it is Oscar bait, but we’ll see). Sounding much more awards friendly is “Theory Of Everything,” James Marsh’s (“Man on Wire”) Stephen Hawking biopic starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Emily Watson and David Thewlis. It’s been dated for November 7th of this year.
And while the Focus/Film District merger of last year had many assuming Focus would move in a much more mainstream direction (as was the intention), both these films definitely still feel like they are still in the spirit of what Focus did best; the mid-budgeted studio picture both of genre and awards-friendly descent.