The Summer 2015 movie release schedule has by and large been finalized now, in terms of the major studio projects. There will be the expected superhero tentpoles, popular genre franchise titles, and the computer-animated offerings from big-name studios; there will also be action/comedies (the Melissa McCarthy starring Spy), comedy/dramas (the sequel Magic Mike XXL), and even the rare flat-out dramatic work (the biopic Straight Outta Compton).
One action/comedy has been removed from this summer’s lineup, in the form of the Sacha Baron Cohen-headlined Grimsby. Taking its place is one Southpaw, a sports drama directed by Antoine Fuqua (Olympus Has Fallen, The Equalizer) and featuring Jake Gyllenhaal having undergone yet another impressive physical transformation (see above).
The Weinstein Company has set Southpaw to hit U.S. theaters on July 31st, 2015, where its direct opening weekend competition will include the Point Break remake as well as director Tarsem Singh’s latest mind-bending sci-fi/thriller, Self/Less. Fuqua’s movie will be one of those rare straight-out dramatic films arriving in the summertime; as a grittier character narrative, it might provide a welcome change of pace for certain moviegoers too.
Once envisioned as a film starring Eminem and written by Kurt Sutter (creator of Sons of Anarchy), Southpaw tells the tale of Billy “The Great” Hope (Gyllenhaal), a junior middleweight boxing champion who struggles after he experiences a personal tragedy. With a supporting cast that includes such names as Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Naomie Harris, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and the real-life boxer Victor Ortiz (The Expendables 3), Southpaw could end up offering a nice blending of adult drama and crowd-pleasing entertainment, under Fuqua’s direction.
Grimsby (according to Exhibitor Relations) has been moved from July 31st this year to February 26th, 2016, which is a less competitive frame where it will face-off with Paramount’s new Ben-Hur adaptation. The two ought to be fine since they’re offering very different sorts of bang for your buck; Grimsby, for example, is an action/comedy about a top-notch British spy (Mark Strong) who is forced to work alongside his sports fanatic brother (Cohen) on a dangerous mission.
Cohen’s new comedic offering is directed by Louis Leterrier (who passed on Now You See Me: The Second Act to make this film) and costars the likes of Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, Penélope Cruz, Ian McShane, and Gabourey Sidibe. The Borat actor’s last two major headlining efforts (Bruno and The Dictator) failed to scale the box office heights of his comedy film breakout – and Grimsby probably won’t manage to either. It might be alright though, as far as February big screen entertainment goes.
Southpaw opens in U.S. theaters on July 31st, 2015. Grimsby arrives on February 26th, 2016.