STX has announced new release dates for The Happytime Murders and Mile 22. A relatively new player in Hollywood, STX has been trying to make a name for itself, bringing in big names to fill leading roles and to helm potential blockbuster hits. With this latest shuffle in their August release dates, STX seems to be repositioning these films for a more optimistic run at the box office.
Mile 22, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Ronda Rousey and John Malkovich, is a race against time thriller following a top-secret mission to keep an asset out of enemy hands, carried out by the CIA's best, yet misunderstood, contingent. This will be the fourth time director Peter Berg and Wahlberg have worked together, previously uniting for Lone Survivor, Patriots Day and Deepwater Horizon. Where Mile 22 looks to find favor in audiences through secret missions, The Happytime Murders looks to vulgar humor and warped nostalgia for success. The Happytime Murders follows the turbulent relationship between two detectives, one a puppet and one a human, as they work together to solve the murder of puppets from a popular 1980s series The Happytime Gang. Resembling puppets from the Jim Henson company, The Happytime Murders is set to also star Joel McHale, Elizabeth Banks and Maya Rudolph.
As was reported by Collider, Mile 22 will be moving from a previously publicized release date of August 3rd to August 17th, while The Happytime Murders has been pushed back from August 17th to August 24th. With the release date pushed back, Mile 22 looks to try and beat out its newest competition Alpha, a man and wolf relationship film, and Three Seconds, an upcoming British crime drama from director Andrea Di Stefano. The Happytime Murders' new release date will have them battling new competition at the box office as well. The raunchy puppeteering comedy is now set to face off against robot dog movie A.X.L., and the highly anticipated horror film Slender Man. While Slender Man appears to be the toughest competition for the weekend, The Happytime Murders seems poised for success, as the nature of the film is sure to attract those adults who grew up with Jim Henson puppets, in addition to the controversy surrounding the film further heightening interest.
Following the release of the film's first trailer, STX found itself defending the marketing for The Happytime Murders against the company behind Sesame Street. In the film's trailer and movie poster, there is a reference to the popular children's series, "No Sesame. All Street". The clever tagline, as argued by the company behind Sesame Street, "deliberately confuses consumers into mistakenly believing that Sesame is associated with, has allowed, or has even endorsed or produced the movie and tarnishes Sesame's brand." A judge has since ruled that Sesame Workshop had been unable to adequately prove the tagline would lead to confusion amongst movie goers and the lawsuit has since been closed. Thankfully, no such controversies have arisen around Mile 22.
STX has seen a modest success at the box office this year with both comedy and drama, securing $80.5 million for its crime heist drama Den of Thieves - which is set to get a sequel - and $82.7 million for Amy Schumer's latest comedy I Feel Pretty. With these updated release dates for The Happytime Murders and Mile 22, STX seems hopeful for even more success in 2018.