Andy and Lana Wachowski’s next project, Jupiter Ascending, looks as ambitious in scope and grandiose in design as everything else the filmmaking siblings have made in the past fifteen years; whether its grasp will exceed its reach, has been a real concern for even the most ardent of Wachowski fans. The film’s trailers have served up quite the dazzling smorgasbord of science fiction and fantasy tropes; unfortunately, in the wake of news that the movie has been delayed by nearly seven months, the signs are currently pointing to Jupiter Ascending possibly being a hot mess, rather than a Star Wars-ian mold-breaking epic.
The Wachowskis regained some of the critical luster that has eluded them since their Matrix days back in 2012, with their kaleidoscopic, genre-blending, saga adaptation, Cloud Atlas (which Tom Tykwer co-directed); in spite of that, the costly project only earned $27 million during its U.S. theatrical run, though its $103 million foreign saved the movie from being written off as a complete financial bomb. Nonetheless, in a time when sequels, franchise reboots, and/or property re-imaginings tend to dominate the box office (a time when even a Tom Cruise sci-fi thriller like Edge of Tomorrow isn’t considered to be a surefire bet), there’s fair reason to question Jupiter Ascending‘s financial prospects – with or without good word of mouth on its side, that is.
It’s therefore not unreasonable to assume that concerns about the shaky box office prospects did, at the least, partially motivate Warner Bros. to move Jupiter Ascending away from July 2014 to what should be the less-competitive month of February 2015. Deadline, however, is also reporting that the film – starring Mila Kunis as a seemingly ordinary human woman who is protected by a genetically-enhanced warrior (Channing Tatum) when outside forces discover that she is destined for far greater things – has been delayed to allow for an extended post-production period, so that the $150 million movie’s complex visual effects can be better completed and polished to a shine.
Warner Bros. have swapped out the Liam Neeson action/thriller Run All Night for Jupiter Ascending, as its new release on February 6th next year. Other titles scheduled to open that day include Johnny Depp’s caper comedy Mortdecai and Legendary’s Seventh Son movie – the latter being a big-budget fantasy based on the Wardstone Chronicles book series which, like Jupiter Ascending, has been delayed before, in part due to needing more time to finish its own visual effects. There’s definitely some overlap between Jupiter and Son, as far as demographic target appeal goes, but that doesn’t mean the pair cannot co-exist somewhat in peace.
As indicated before, the significant push-back for Jupiter Ascending doesn’t bode all that well for the film’s quality, especially seeing how the news is arriving just a month and a half before the film was slated to hit theaters. That said, not every movie that endures a significant delay winds up being I, Frankenstein; sometimes, you get something more worthwhile like the RoboCop remake, which (similar to Jupiter) was originally supposed to arrive in the summertime, before it was shoved into a February launch date instead. As someone who generally enjoys the Wachowskis’ films, I’ll keep hoping for the best - while still preparing for the worst.
Jupiter Ascending is now scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on February 6th, 2015.