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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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"Now You See Me"
Opening the week before "Man Of Steel," Louis Letterier's magic-themed heist actioner had been in search of a release date for a while; originally planned for a January 18th bow, it moved first to March, and then to the June date. That certainly seems to be a sign of bullishness from Summit, a hope that the film might be a slightly-adult skewing alternative to some of the other summer fare, rather than an indication of trouble. The question is whether the marketing campaign (which seems to be trying to suggest to audiences that it's a Christopher Nolan film, complete with Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman) can make it a sleeper hit, or sees it buried by bigger competition.

"Star Trek Into Darkness"
Paramount had scheduled the film for June 29th, 2012, but director J.J. Abrams didn't commit to directing the film until well after he was done with "Super 8,"  and was worried about rushing in with an unfinished script. Eventually, Abrams signed on, but only on the condition that the film was pushed back a year, saying at the time, "What all of us were concerned about is the release date being the master we were serving. Nothing is more disheartening than something going in front of the camera before it's ready. The crew can feel it and the cast can feel it." It's an admirable approach, and one that we wish more people stuck to, even if it screwed up things for Paramount royally (they fast-tracked "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" to fill the gap, only to end up delaying that too and then they saw their other 2012 release "World War Z" fall apart -- see below).

"Thor: The Dark World"
Originally meant to open at the end of July, this is something of a no-brainer; aimed to give a bigger gap between the film and fellow Marvel picture "Iron Man 3," the delay lets it play out in November, where the blockbuster competition is thinner ("The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" follows two weeks later), and allowing it to play across both Thanksgiving and even Christmas. There's the slight risk in releasing a Marvel movie outside the summer (it's the first time that's happened), but given that it's riding the coattails of "The Avengers," the third most successful film in history, it should do just fine. For the record, the change was made a year before filming started, so there's no reason for concern here....

"World War Z"
....whereas there certainly is reason for concern here. With shooting starting in the middle of 2010, "World War Z" was originally set for Christmas 2012, a slightly curious date, but perhaps less so when you take into account the success of "I Am Legend" in a similar slot five years earlier. One could dismiss the film's move to June 2013 as being due to a desire to get out of the way of a stacked Christmas season, but unlike some of the films that did the same ("Man Of Steel," "The Lone Ranger"), "World War Z" had no chance of being ready on time, due to well-publicized script problems, with Damon Lindelof, Drew Goddard and Christopher McQuarrie among the writers sought out and/or brought in to completely retool the film's third act, leading to extensive reshoots in the last few months of last year. That's always a serious warning sign (along with reports of clashes between Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster), and having to write a new ending when the beginning is already set in stone is most screenwriters' worst nightmare. Other films that have been in similar situations ("The Invasion" and "The Stepford Wives" are the ones that spring to mind) didn't work out well, so Paramount must be keeping their fingers crossed that it turns out more like "Men In Black 3," which had similar mid-production rewrites from multiple participants, and which turned out not only to be a big hit, but also a fairly decent movie.

So? Which one of these pictures are you in doubt about? Which ones do you think probably benefited from more work being spent on them? We're curious to hear your thoughts so sound off below.

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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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