We're closing on the mid-way point to the year, with several of 2013's biggest movies already in theaters, but as fast as films hit theaters, the studios nab future release dates sometimes years away, hoping to stake their claim on key territory. And last night, the release calendar just got three new additions across the next couple of years.
First up is "Exodus," Ridley Scott's Moses movie that we, frankly, didn't realize was far enough along in the process to get to this stage. But clearly, the film has a greenlight, or something close to it, from 20th Century Fox, who've given it an awards-primed slot of December 12th, 2014. That's five days before the final "Hobbit" movie, "There And Back Again," and a week before Brad Bird's George Clooney-starring "Tomorrowland." Last we heard, Christian Bale was being courted to take the lead role in the film; presumably, he, or someone like him, has signed on, because Scott will need to get rolling on this before the year is out (and ideally much sooner) to hit that slot.
Next up, again from Fox, is "Assassin's Creed," the adaptation of the popular video-game series that's set to star, and be produced by, Michael Fassbender. The film's been in the works for a while now, with New Regency (who have a deal with Fox) picking up the rights a while back. Michael Lesslie is currently writing the script for the project, which involves a man in a dystopian future who is able to relive the memories of his ancestors, assassins in the Crusades-era Middle East, Renaissance Italy and Revolutionary America (with a fourth, pirate-themed installment also on the way), but there's no director currently involved. But with two years to go, we expect that to change sooner rather than later. The film's now slated to open on May 22nd, 2015, which is interesting, because that's about the date that "Star Wars" movies traditionally open, and "Episode VII" is due that summer. Is this a little 'fuck you' from the franchise's former studio to Disney? Perhaps, but that said, if "Episode VII" ends up aiming for the same date, we wouldn't be in the least surprise to see 'Creed' move elsewhere.
Next up, and a little closer to now, is Jason Reitman's "Labor Day." The filmmaker shot his coming-of-age drama, an adaptation of Joyce Maynard's novel about a family whose lives are turned upside down by an escaped convict, last year, and as you might expect, it's been given an Oscar-friendly slot by Paramount; it's set to open in limited release on December 25th, before expanding on January 11th, and going wider January 31st. This suggests that hopes are high for the film's awards prospects. Will the film, which stars Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet, deliver? And will Reitman skip the festival season, as he did with little success with "Young Adult," or will it pop up at Telluride, TIFF or elsewhere? We're sure we'll find out before too long. [Box Office Mojo]