There’s some interesting release date shuffling afoot at Warner Bros. and two large-scale projects are at the center of the moves.
THR reports that the studio has removed its new take on the Arthurian legend, Arthur & Lancelot, from the release calendar completely. The film was originally scheduled to debut next March, but now sits in limbo as Warners irons out “several issues” – including the size of the budget. Director David Dobkin called those involved with the project and reportedly told them it “wasn’t looking good.” Warners, meanwhile, insists that the project -- which was set to feature Kit Harington and Joel Kinnaman in the title roles -- is not dead.
Budget concerns seem to be at the heart of the decision as the film now has a shooting cost of upwards of $130 million. The idea was to create a film in the vein of the Sherlock Holmes features – meaning a more lighthearted and less historically accurate action romp. Harington and Kinnaman are relatively unproven commodities, so it makes sense that the studio would be a little gun-shy about the budget. However, changing the start date of shooting might cost them one or both leads as each is bound to have scheduling conflicts moving forward.
Meanwhile, another high profile project is on the move. Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer was set to open in a lucrative June 15th slot this summer, but has now been pushed back to March 22nd.
No official explanation has been given, but speculation from The Film Stage is that this allows Singer and his team to finish tweaking the film without rushing it to the theater (the special effects in the trailer looked like they could still use some work), but the shift also allows Warners to potentially fill the March 2013 slot just opened by the Arthur & Lancelot movement.
What is clear is that it’s not being moved because of competition on that weekend – the only other major release on that date is Adam Sandler’s Donny’s Boy. We doubt that has Warner Bros. terrified of opening.
While the cynical might assume this means the studio has lost faith in Singer’s film, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Moving to March is certainly not as prestigious as opening in June, but that late March release window is still a good one – it’s not a place where bad films slink off to die a quick death.
What does it all mean? No one knows for sure – but we’ll keep you posted as details emerge.