This morning, The Walt Disney Studios announced new release dates for upcoming films from two of its major franchises. Star Wars: Episode VIII, originally scheduled for release on May 26, 2017, will now debut on December 15, 2017. The move follows the extraordinary success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was the first Star Wars movie to premiere in December. In the popular holiday moviegoing corridor, it smashed numerous records, including biggest domestic and global debuts of all time as well as the biggest domestic second and third weekends, en route to becoming the highest grossing domestic release of all time with over $861M and the third biggest global release ever with $1.887B.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: Episode VIII is currently in pre-production and will begin principal photography in London next month. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman will produce and J.J. Abrams, Tom Karnowski, and Jason D. McGatlin will executive produce. Stay tuned to StarWars.com for exciting updates in the coming weeks.
With Star Wars: Episode VIII jumping to December, Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will set sail on May 26, 2017, from its previously scheduled July 7, 2017, berth. The blockbuster franchise's previous installment, the $1B-grossing Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, also debuted in late May. As of now, no other movie has been given a May 26, 2017 release date, so we'll have to wait and see if it will have any direct competition as we get closer to that date.
In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow with Geoffrey Rush back on board as Barbossa, Orlando Bloom resurfacing as Will Turner, and a terrifying new adversary, Captain Salazar, played by Javier Bardem, in the mix. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, the film is currently in post-production. The supporting cast includes franchise newcomers Kaya Scodelario, Brenton Thwaites and Golshifteh Farahani, with other returning stars such as Stephen Graham, Kevin McNally and Martin Klebba.
Star Wars: Episode VIII will now be going up against Warner Bros.' Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg, on December 15, 2017. It wouldn't be surprising if that adaptation, which stars Olivia Cooke and Ben Mendelsohn, shifts its release date in the weeks and months ahead. Many fans were overjoyed that the Star Wars franchise was returning to its roots with a May release date for Star Wars: Episode VIII, but now we'll have to wait a few months longer before this sequel hits theaters. Are you disappointed with this release date shift?