Studios have been pushing and shoving one another (figuratively-speaking… as far as we know), in order to secure an ideal position in Summer 2015, which looks to be the end-all of Hollywood blockbuster derbies. We’ve already seen Disney move two prized ponies – Star Wars: Episode VII and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – back, in order to give them more breathing room during their opening weekends; not to mention, provide them with more time for development (so as to ensure a respectable final product).

Filmmaker Roland Emmerich has been saying for a while now that Independence Day 2 (a.k.a. ID Forever) needs more preparation time, than afforded by the July 2015 release date that 20th Century Fox had gone ahead and penciled the sequel in for. Similarly, the Fifty Shades of Grey movie has recently undergone rewrites and had its production start delayed, in the aftermath of Charlie Hunnam abandoning ship (i.e. dropping the role of sadomasochistic control freak Christian Grey). As such, there’s been talk of Universal moving Fifty Shades from its original August 2014 launch pad.

No surprise, it’s now been confirmed that both the Independence Day sequel and Fifty Shades adaptation have been scooted back from their original release dates. Emmerich’s new alien invasion blockbuster is now scheduled to hit theaters on July 1st, 2016, which (not incidentally) will mark the 20th anniversary of the original film. The Summer 2016 season is the same frame where Disney shifted the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean installment and the Pixar sequel, Finding Dory, in recent months.

As it stands, the next big announcement for Independence Day 2 might concern which version of the script – both co-written by Emmerich and his longtime collaborator Dean Devlin – is going to be used: the one with or the one without Will Smith, who is possibly coming back to play hotshot Steven Hiller (after it was previously indicated that he would not return).

Fifty Shades of Grey was originally going to face-off against Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy during its opening weekend, but the movie adaptation of E.L. James’ Twilight-inspired BDSM love story has been moved to February 13th, 2015 (just in time for the Valentine’s Day weekend – that joke writes itself). It now appears that Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele will pit their romance against a new Nicholas Sparks novel adaptation, The Longest Ride, in addition to the cartoon sequel SpongeBob Squarepants 2. (No additional comments necessary.)

Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley told EW that the studio probably would’ve moved Fifty Shades back to early 2015 even if Hunnam has stayed onboard. Regardless of whether that’s true or just good PR, director Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy) is probably thankful to have more time to prepare for shooting/choreographing the film’s many graphic sex sequences, with stars Dakota Johnson (The Social Network) and Jamie Dornan (Once Upon a Time). Likewise, the cast and crew now have more time to adjust to the revised script, which was originally penned by Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks) and later polished by screenwriter Mark Bomback (The Wolverine).

In other movie release date news:

  • Dracula Untold – starring Luke Evans (pictured above in The Raven) as the Count in his pre-vampiric days – has been moved closer to Halloween and will now open in theaters on October 17th, 2014.
  • Get On Up – the James Brown biopic starring Chadwick Boseman (42) and directed by Taylor Tate (The Help) – has vacated the October 17th date for Dracula and moved up to an August 1st, 2014 release date instead.
  • Hercules: The Legend Begins – featuring Kellan Lutz (Immortals) as a young son of Zeus – is scheduled to hit theaters on February 7th, 2014, well before Dwayne Johnson plays an older (and bulkier) Herc in Brett Ratner’s Hercules next summer.
  • Live By Night – the historical crime drama/thriller directed by and starring Ben Affleck – is scheduled to open in theaters on Christmas Day 2015.
  • Jersey Boys – Clint Eastwood’s movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical – will reach theaters on June 20th, 2014.

Be sure and let us know which (if any) of the aforementioned films you’re most excited to see on the big screen!

Fifty Shades of Grey will open in theaters on February 13th, 2015.

Independence Day 2 arrives on July 1st, 2016.

Source: Box Office Mojo, EW