Before the holiday weekend gets under way, Lionsgate set new release dates for a pair of its upcoming projects. First up, the studio has handed out an October 20, 2017 release date for Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, a follow-up to last year's Boo! A Madea Halloween, from star/writer/director Tyler Perry. The studio also slated the new Aardman Animation stop-motion film Early Man for release on February 16, 2018. Unfortunately for both of those projects, they land on very competitive weekends.

Over the last few years, the third weekend in October has become increasingly crowded, but last year, Boo! A Madea Halloween managed to come out on top with a box office win of $28.5 million, easily beating three more newcomers, 20th Century Fox's Keeping Up With the Joneses, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and Ouija: Origins of Evil. However, it only earned $73.2 million domestically and just $1.6 million internationally for a worldwide total of $74.8 million, from a $20 million budget. This year, there are already six movies in wide release slated to open on October 20, Warner Bros.' Geostorm, Sony's Granite Mountain Hotshots, 20th Century Fox's The Mountain Between Us, PureFlix's Same Kind of Different as Me, Universal's The Snowman and The Weinstein Company's War with Grandpa.

Variety reports that, alongside Tyler Perry, the supporting cast will include Cassi Davis and Patrice Lovely, both reprising their roles from the first movie as Aunt Bam and Hattie. It doesn't seem that Bella Thorne will be reprising her role from the first movie as Rain, since she isn't listed on the film's IMDB page, but that page does reveal that a number of actors from the original will return. Reprising their roles from this first Halloween adventure are Yousef Erakat as Jonathan, Lexy Panterra as Leah, Brock O'Hurn as Horse, Diamond White as Tiffany and JC Caylen as Mikey, although that cast hasn't been confirmed by the studio yet.

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No story details have been given for the sequel yet, but the original comedy actually came from a much different movie, Chris Rock's Top Five, where a fictitious Madea Halloween movie was mentioned. Tyler Perry gave Chris Rock permission to use this idea in the film, and then he actually went to Lionsgate and told them he wants to make the movie himself. The original movie followed Madea as she spends a haunted Halloween fending off killers, paranormal poltergeists, ghosts, ghouls and zombies while keeping a watchful eye on a group of misbehaving teens.

Lionsgate's other new release, the Aardman Animation comedy Early Man has the unenviable task of going up against Marvel's Black Panther on February 16, 2018. Early Man is the new prehistoric comedy adventure from four-time Academy Award-winning director Nick Park and Aardman, the creators of 'Wallace & Gromit' and 'Shaun the Sheep'. Shot in Aardman's own distinctive style, the film will take audiences on an extraordinary journey into an exciting new world unleashing an unforgettable tribe of unique and funny new characters voiced by an all-star British cast. The voice cast includes Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Timothy Spall, Richard Ayoade, Selina Griffiths, Johnny Vegas and Mark Williams. Hopefully we'll have more on Boo 2! A Madea Halloween and Early Man soon.