Warner Bros.’ marketing for its 300 midquel, which is titled 300: Rise of an Empire, has been virtually non-existent, even though it’s been set to hit theaters in Summer 2013 for some time. Hence, it comes as little surprise that the studio has removed the Frank Miller comic book adaptation from its release slate this year, in favor of a 2014 launch date instead.

Rise of an Empire will take the March 7th, 2014 date that was previously occupied by All You Need Is Kill; as a result, WB has decided to upgrade the Tom Cruise sci-fi action/thriller to Summer Blockbuster status. Meanwhile, Universal has settled on a release date for Seth MacFarlane’s western parody, A Million Ways to Die in the West.

Zack Snyder’s 300 opened in theaters in March 2007, and WB President of Domestic Distribution Dan Fellman says (via the official press release) that Rise of an Empire‘s new release date “continues in the tradition of the first ‘300,’ and kicks off the spring movie-going season in epic style.”

The problem is, this new installment was only co-written by Snyder – who handed directing duties to Noam Murro (Smart People) – and draws from a Frank Miller graphic novel written at a point where the once-legendary comic book author has lost much of his former sheen. By comparison, All You Need Is Kill – which will now open against Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on June 6th, 2014 – pairs Cruise with director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) and is based upon a well-received Japanese “light novel.”

Cruise is coming off a moderate, but not too shabby, critical/financial success in the sci-fi genre, with Oblivion, and that momentum should only benefit All You Need Is Kill at the box office. Similarly, MacFarlane started his career as a feature-length writer and director with a bang, thanks to the popular comedy Ted – before he gained additional exposure with his controversial 2013 Oscars hosting stint (no such thing as bad press, right?) – and that bodes well for A Million Ways…

MacFarlane is directing himself in A Million Ways…, in addition to Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried and Liam Neeson. It will reach theaters on May 30th, 2014, where the sure to be raunchy comedy offering is going to be counter-programming to Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur.

In related news:

  • Director Peter Berg’s (Battleship) Lone Survivor adaptation, starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch and Eric Bana, will open in theaters on January 10th, 2014.
  • Sony/Columbia has removed Hotel Transylvania director Genndy Tartakovsky’s Popeye from September 26th, 2014 to an unspecified 2015 release date.
  • Universal announced earlier this week that Jurassic Park IV has been put on hold and won’t make its original Summer 2014 release date; right now, it’s doubtful the long-gestating dino adventure will hit theaters any sooner than Summer 2015.


300: Rise of an Empire will open in U.S. theaters on March 7th, 2014.

A Million Ways to Die in the West will reach U.S. theaters on May 30th, 2014.

All You Need Is Kill will hit theaters on June 6th, 2014.