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The Delayed Films Of 2013: Why They Were Pushed Back & Which Ones Will You Be Seeing?

by Oliver Lyttelton
January 23, 2013 2:07 PM
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Sandra Bullock Gravity
His first film since 2006's modern classic "Children Of Men," film fans have been eagerly anticipating Alfonso Cuaron's space-thriller "Gravity," with reports of 20-minute takes, a Kubrick-esque vibe and positive test-screening responses all only fuelling the fire. But back in May, the film was moved off its November 21st 2012 release date to an unknown point in the future, only recently landing an October 4th date. For some, that might have rung warning bells, especially given that the move was made after those test-screenings. But there's been no news on reshoots for the movie, so we're assuming that any changes aren't major ones. It seems to us that Warners realized, after showing it to audiences, that what they had on their hands was less a four-quadrant blockbuster, and more a potential critical favorite that could use a festival debut and a release date similar to their successful "Argo" as a boost to potential awards glory. But then again, they tried that strategy with the equally hard sell, sci-fi "Cloud Atlas" only to watch it tank.

The Great Gatsby Carey Mulligan Leonardo DiCaprio
"The Great Gatsby"
Expected by many to be a big Oscar player, Baz Luhrmann's already divisive adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic was delayed to this summer by Warner Bros back in August of 2012. And while it hasn't been tainted to the degree of some of these other films, it was reported that Luhrmann was trying to raise extra money for reshoots, which seemed to take place in October. The director has something of a reputation as a tinkerer (he essentially shot "Australia" twice, one of the reasons it proved so expensive), but it's not that likely that this was the reason for the delay; if Warners weren't willing to pay for the reshoots, they probably wouldn't have moved the film back in order to accommodate them. Instead, it was probably a smart move to get out of the packed Christmas season that included another Leonardo DiCaprio movie opening head to head. Furthermore, with the Oscar season so competitive last year, moving to 2013 probably gives the film a better chance to stand out (some took the move to mean that the film wasn't awards material, but "Moulin Rouge!" had a similar shift, and still ended up with a bunch of nominations, including Best Picture).

Jack The Giant Killer, Nicolas Hoult
"Jack The Giant Slayer"
Bryan Singer's return to the tentpole world always seemed like something of an afterthought for Warner Bros, and its delay until this March wasn't a huge surprise when it came; the film faced tough competition, with "Madagscar 3" and "Brave" competing for the kid audience, and "Snow White & The Huntsman" arriving two weeks earlier with another rebooted fairy tale. Moving to the March 1st slot might still give it formidable competition from "Oz The Great & Powerful" a week later, but it at least lets it be the first in the marketplace, and as the first young-skewing fantasy blockbuster since "The Hobbit," a chance at a decent opening weekend. It may not pay off, but it was probably the right move.  

Lone Ranger
"The Lone Ranger"
Another film with well-documented production difficulties (shut down to be retooled to be cheaper, only to go over budget once it got before cameras), Disney's reteam of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp, was originally set to land at Christmas. Whether the troubled shoot had anything to do with the move is somewhat moot; the blockbuster faced direct genre competition (albeit of an R-rated flavor) in "Django Unchained," as well as seeing "The Hobbit" and "Les Miserables" chasing similar demographics. The summer is a more comfortable slot for Disney for this kind of thing, and when the July 4th weekend opened up when "Robopocalypse" was delayedit was the natural move to put "The Lone Ranger" in. It's important to recognize that budget overages in themselves don't make a film a questionable prospect -- no one ever went to see a movie because it came in on schedule/on budget.

Man Of Steel
"Man Of Steel"
You're allowed a bit of a pass on delaying a movie if you do it before shooting has even begun, and as with Paramount & "Star Trek," Warner Bros were planning long-term when they pushed "Man Of Steel" from Christmas 2012 to June 2013 way back in the middle of 2011. With the stiff competition already planned for that Christmas (which then included "Life Of Pi" and "The Lone Ranger" as well), Warners were smart to give Zack Snyder's film a longer lead time, especially given that major superhero movies have rarely performed well outside summer (see: "The Green Hornet," "Daredevil"). The competition aren't running scared in the way that they were with the Batman movies ("After Earth" hits the week before, "World War Z" and "Monsters University" the one after), but maybe they should be, given the way that "The Avengers" crushed all comers last summer.

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  • Steve | January 24, 2013 2:05 AMReply

    I was at one of the private screenings for "Elysium" last summer, and trust me, that movie is going to kick so much ass.

    Reading screenplays that float around online don't really indicate how the film will look, or how scenes will play out without proper visual context.

    The movie is too much to fail.

  • Steve | January 25, 2013 2:22 PM


    I had to sign an NDA that prohibits me from talking at great length about the film - but I think I'm allowed to say something to the extent that both Sharlto and Matt gave the best performances in the film - especially the former. I think you will find his villain to be a lot of fun. He's neither too serious nor too over the top. He's a pretty good combination of malicious and comical, I think.

    The movie as a whole, even with the incomplete effects and temp score, was still really fun to watch. Neill Blomkamp and his entire crew did an excellent job of "world building." The guy has the vision of a James Cameron/early George Lucas in my very honest opinion.

  • GERARD KENNELLY | January 24, 2013 6:17 PM

    @ STEVE

    tell me something man...

    is matt damon's performance as good as shalto copley was in DISTRICT 9

    is jodie foster's performance a return to form ? ?
    she was not amazing on screen since INSIDE MAN

    is sharlto copley an over the top love to hate em bad guy...
    or is his character gritty and realistic

  • asiandude | January 24, 2013 12:39 PM

    I agree about the aspect of action, visual, ... But if what people concerm/dislike is character development etc then it'll be still bad taste

  • Steve | January 24, 2013 2:06 AM

    I meant to say "too much FUN to fail." Blah.

  • IG | January 23, 2013 5:44 PMReply

    What about Malick's To the Wonder?

  • Edward | January 23, 2013 7:12 PM

    To The Wonder was never scheduled for this year. It premiered at TIFF, but lot of films premiere at TIFF and then are bought and a distribution plan is created for the following year. Often the norm, unless they're rushed into theaters for Oscar time (and look how well that worked out for Hitchcock).
    Inside Llewyn Davis doesn't even have distribution yet so it was never planned for this year.

  • HanekeBA33 | January 23, 2013 3:26 PMReply

    Inside Llewyn Davis?

  • GERARD KENNELLY | January 24, 2013 6:20 PM

    here is the trailer

    http://www.empireonline. dot com /news/story.asp?NID=36290

  • Jeff | January 23, 2013 9:19 PM

    Inside Llewyn Davis hasn't been delayed from an earlier date. It has never had a date scheduled. Some people just assumed it would come out at the end of 2012 for awards season because the Coens directed. It doesn't even have a U.S. distributor yet.

  • Mitchell | January 23, 2013 2:17 PMReply

    The Conjuring was pushed back as well, right? I know it's opening in that Nolan summer sweet spot, but wasn't it originally scheduled for early spring?

  • GERARD KENNELLY | January 24, 2013 6:21 PM

    @ JEFF

    here is the trailer

    http://www.empireonline. dot com/news/story.asp?NID=36290

  • G | January 23, 2013 9:07 PM

    The Conjuring was pushed from January 25 to July 19 after spectacular test screening scores.

  • Skippy | January 23, 2013 3:33 PM

    I think I read that it was originally set for spring but they felt so good about it they decided to go for summer.

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