When FOX slated Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel-turned-original sci-fi project Prometheus for a March 9, 2012 release date, we knew there was going to be a game a chicken afoot. Disney had already staked out that same date to release their (3D) adaptation of John Carter of Mars, meaning that two tentpole sci-fi flicks would’ve been going head-to-head at the box office.
However, sci-fi fans hoping for a weekend blockbuster double-feature are going to be disappointed: Prometheus is now being released in June of 2012…where John Carter was originally scheduled.
For those keeping track, this whole Disney/FOX 2012 release date business has been like a game of musical chairs. I’ve mapped all the moves out for you:
- Disney schedules John Carter and Tim Burton’s Gothic boy-meets-dog film Frankenweenie to be released on June 8, 2012 and March 9, 2012, respectively.
- FOX schedules Sir Ridley’s Prometheus for March 9, 2012.
- Disney moves John Carter up to March 9th, and knocks Frankenweenie back to a more fitting October 5, 2012 release date.
- Fox responds by moving Prometheus into John Carter‘s original June 8th slot.
So, what’s the cause for all this switching? Well, either FOX was banking on pushing Prometheus as a blockbuster offering in the pre-summer rush and Disney liked that idea, or FOX somehow faked Disney out into vacating a major summer release date. Or, FOX just got lucky that Disney made that move, unless Disney got lucky that FOX made that move (the box office will tell) - or maybe none of these straws I’m grasping at is the right one. Who can ever say for sure with Hollywood?
Of course it makes sense for the studios to spread out their mutual releases so that one sci-fi film doesn’t overshadow another, but on some level this seems like a disappointment. Of any target demographic, I would bet that sci-fi fans would be thrilled at the opportunity of seeing a big-budget sci-fi two-punch at their local theaters. With a little synergistic thinking, both Disney and Fox could’ve turned these genre movie releases into a bonafide (3D?) cinematic event…But that would go against the cutthroat politics of the movie biz, and we couldn’t have that, now could we?
As it stands, here are the new release dates in order:
- John Carter of Mars - March 9, 2012
- Prometheus - June 8, 2012
- Frankenweenie - October 5, 2012