Back in August, Warner Bros. issued a December 15, 2017 release date for Ready Player One, which has Steven Spielberg set to direct. At the time, this highly-anticipated adaptation of Ernest Cline's novel didn't have any direct competition, but last month, Disney and LucasFilm announced that it was moving Star Wars: Episode VIII from May 26, 2017 to December 15, 2017, to give writer-director Rian Johnson more time to work on the script. As expected, Warner Bros. has now shifted Ready Player One's release out of 2017, issuing a March 30, 2018 release.
As of now, Ready Player One's only direct competition will be an unspecified Universal Monsters project, which has been rumored to be a remake of The Wolf Man. Warner Bros. also shifted the release date for their superhero adaptation The Flash, moving it up one week from March 23, 2018 to March 16, 2018, giving it some separation from Ready Player One. The Flash doesn't have any direct competition in its new release date. Ironically, the move comes one day after the studio scheduled Collateral Beauty, starring Will Smith, for release on December 16, 2016, putting it up against Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Ready Player One centers on a teenager named Wade Watts, who becomes obsessed with a virtual reality world known as Oasis, that allows players to live out their fantasies. After the game's creator suddenly dies, an elaborate treasure hunt is held within the Oasis world, with the winner emerging to take control of the entire company. Along with gamers from around the world, Wade joins the adventure, and quickly finds himself pitted against powerful corporate foes and other ruthless competitors who will do anything, in the oasis or the real world, to reach the treasure first. Olivia Cooke will play Sam, a Canadian blogger who is known in the Oasis world as Art3mis, and will become a love interest for the lead character. Ben Mendelsohn is playing the executive of an Internet company who is trying to take control of Oasis.
Warner Bros. has also set a March 2, 2018 release date for an Untitled WB Event Film, and an April 20, 2018 release for an Untitled New Line Tentpole on April 20, 2018. Both of these projects are the first to stake their claim for these dates, but it remains to be seen what these projects actually are, or when they'll be announced. The setting of release dates for unspecified movies has become a standard practice over the past few years, and these movies could be either new DC superhero projects, or perhaps a follow-up to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. There are a number of different possibilities for these mystery movies, though, so stay tuned for more announcements.
Steven Spielberg is directing Ready Player One from a screenplay by Zak Penn (Marvel's The Avengers), with the director also producing alongside Donald De Line, Dan Farah and Kristie Macosko Krieger. The project will be the filmmaker's first at Warner Bros. since 2001's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. It isn't known when production will begin yet, but we'll keep you posted as soon as more details are released. Do you think it was a smart move to push Ready Player One into 2018?