This latest installment in The Fast and Furious franchise has surely had its setbacks, the most tragic of which was the untimely death of actor Paul Walker. Filming had to shutdown after Walker's death while Universal decided what to do with their unfinished film, and at one point it was even hinted the studio would scrap the picture and start from scratch.
Eventually, it was decided production would continue on Fast & Furious 7. Universal chose to push back its release date from July 11th of this year to April 10th, 2015, allowing the cast and crew more time to work in the necessary re-shoots. This included shooting any of Walker's remaining scenes with his brothers, Cody and Caleb, standing in as body doubles, with the plan to digitally alter their appearance for the finished film. Fast & Furious 7 went on to have even more problems - including a ballooned budget - but now production is finally over, and the film has a new release date.
That's right, Variety is reporting that Universal has chosen to bump Fast & Furious 7's release date a week earlier to April 3rd, 2015.
Considering Universal had initially intended for Fast & Furious 7 to be released next week, any opportunity to move up its current release date was likely one the studio couldn't ignore. They'll already need to continue promoting and hyping the film in order to keep interest high for another year, so any time off that clock is a smart (and money-wise) decision.
This also gives Fast & Furious 7 a larger window to earn back its ever-growing budget before any of next summer's heavy hitters - The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Tomorrowland - begin their battle to dominate the box office.
Only time will tell if Fast & Furious 7 manages to present a fitting sendoff for Walker's character, Brian O'Conner. Hopefully not in way that's crass or in poor taste like an explosive car crash, but something that will provide a satisfying end to the character's multi-film arc. At the very least, fans can find comfort in knowing they'll learn O'Conner's fate a week earlier than expected.
Does Universal's decision to bump up the release date for Fast & Furious 7 by one week imply that they remain confident in the film? Let us hear from you in the comments below!
Fast & Furious 7 hits theaters April 3rd, 2015.