Of all the many reasons behind movie release dates getting moved around, perhaps the most awful is the death of a major actor before completion of filming. This was the fate of Fast & Furious 7 after the franchise’s fans were stunned by the loss of leading man Paul Walker at the end of November. Shortly afterwards, this resulted in the decision by Universal to delay Fast & Furious 7, so that friends of Walker could have some time to grieve (and the filmmakers could have space in which to figure out what direction the movie should take).

The fate of Fast & Furious 7 currently remains unclear, with some rumors suggesting that the production could start all over again from scratch. Harsh as it sounds, however, Fast & Furious 7 held a strong place in the highly coveted summer box office release period, and its delay has left a vacuum that many studios would be eager to fill.

It was today announced that Twentieth Century Fox’s sci-fi sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has moved up one week from July 18th to July 11th, 2014, the originally planned release date for Fast & Furious 7. The highly lucrative vehicular action series had been given room to breathe by other distributors seeking to avoid direct competition, meaning that July 11th is currently unoccupied by any other major releases.

The move takes Dawn of the Planet of the Apes closer to (but still a safe distance away from) the June 27th release of Transformers: Age of Extinction. 2014 isn’t going to be quite as insane a year for movie releases as 2015, but there’s still some major contenders set for release over the summer. The season will kick off with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in May, followed by Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past later that month. Meanwhile, August will see the introduction of Marvel and Disney’s somewhat risky comic book venture, Guardians of the Galaxy.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes picks up ten years after the conclusion of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, with Caesar (Andy Serkis) now a father and husband charged with the leadership of a growing ape nation. Meanwhile, the “Simian Flu” has wiped out a massive portion of the human race, and representatives from a cluster of survivors reach out to contact Caesar as their civilization continues to fall.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will arrive in theaters on July 11th, 2014.

Source: Twentieth Century Fox