In terms of box office numbers and general output, it’s hard for any other time of year to compete with the summer. Ever since Steven Spielberg somewhat unwittingly gave rise to the summer blockbuster with 1975’s Jaws, the annual onslaught of big budgeted summer fare has steadily grown, with release dates set in stone for the most prominent spots, often years in advance.
Yet beyond summer, the Hollywood holiday season – which stretches from the first week of November until just after New Year’s – can also be a goldmine for studios, depending on the titles they release. As far as Christmas themed stories go, Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas has been a perennial small screen favorite since its release as an animated TV special back in 1966.
Illumination Entertainment and Universal have been planning to create an animated feature film version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas for several years now, but only recently was it announced that Benedict Cumberbatch had been cast as The Grinch and that the film would arrive in November of 2017. Unfortunately for Grinch and Cumberbatch fans alike, a newly issued Illumination/Universal press release revealed that the release date has now been bumped back to November 9th, 2018.
Though no specific reason was given for the delay, the decision could very well have something to do with the fact that its initial release date of November 10th, 2017 would have been shared with the Jennifer Lawrence-led Russian spy drama Red Sparrow. The switch to a November 9th, 2018 release provides How The Grinch Stole Christmas with first claim to the spot, meaning that its release will not (as of this writing) have to compete with any other big name film(s). This animated version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas will mark only the second time that the iconic Dr. Seuss tale has been made into a feature, with the first being 2000’s Ron Howard-directed and Jim Carrey-led live-action film of the same name. That effort grossed over $300 million worldwide, but earned a lukewarm-to-negative reception from critics as well as audiences.
With How The Grinch Stole Christmas back in its more familiar animated format, fans could be eager to check out what Illumination and Universal have done to the classic story. What’s more, Cumberbatch’s voice work is well suited for the project. However, a wait until 2018 seems a bit excessive. As far as demographics go, Red Sparrow is hardly in the same league as a festive, children’s film, so the move to a 2018 release date comes off as somewhat odd. Could there be something more to this decision?
When 2018 eventually does roll around and How The Grinch Stole Christmas officially hits theaters, it will be eighteen years since Howard’s version was released. Given both the popularity of Cumberbatch and the positive reception that quite often comes with animated fare, the build-up for this film could strengthen its demand – especially once the first teaser trailer arrives and fans get a look at what exactly they’re waiting for.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas arrives in theaters November 9th, 2018.
Source: Illumination Entertainment/Universal