Looks like we’re unfortunately going to have to wait a bit longer for Star Wars: Episode VIII. Lucasfilm announced today the follow-up to The Force Awakens has been pushed back seven months from May 26, 2017 to December 15, 2017.
While this is obviously disappointing news because we want this movie in theaters as soon as humanly possible, but the release date change should not come as a complete surprise given the runaway box office success of The Force Awakens.
The thought of the still untitled Episode VIII hitting theaters a mere six months after the first spin-off film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story seemed almost too good to be true. But a return to the traditional Lucasfilm May release slot would put director/screenwriter Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII right into the brutal summer box office slug fest, where a new tent pole opens every Friday and keeps the competition for your hard earned money fierce.
The Force Awakens was the first Star Wars film to ever open in December. The six previous installments opened at the end of May. The need for additional production time forced Disney to bump TFA from its original May 2015 spot to December 18th.
It’s no secret how phenomenally well the The Force Awakens has cleaned up at the box office since its December 18th release.
With far less competition, the seventh Star Wars big screen adventure is now on the perch of passing the $2 billion mark in world wide ticket sales. It certainly makes perfect business sense to now keep the saga in December, rather than try and re-claim the May summer kick-off slot Lucasfilm had a solid hold on with six Star Wars films and four Indiana Jones big screen adventures. Plus it gives Rian Johnson a generous amount of more time to tweak, polish and perfect Episode VIII, which is not a bad thing.
Disney has moved Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales up to the May 26th slot, the fifth film that series.
Today, Disney and Lucasfilm announced that Star Wars: Episode VIII, originally scheduled for release in summer 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 outside the traditional summer blockbuster window and 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 $861.3 million and the third biggest global release ever with $1.886.7 billion.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: Episode VIII is currently in preproduction and will begin principal photography in London next month. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman will produce and J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski will executive produce. Stay tuned for exciting updates in the coming weeks.