Studios are known for shuffling around their big-budget projects and investments in order to find the perfect launch time, and so today we have a fistful of new release dates to report. The films in question include Fox/DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda 3, FilmDistrict's Insidious Chapter 2 - as well as the studio's recently-acquired 3D motion picture Pompeii - and Lionsgate's I, Frankenstein adaptation.
Kung Fu Panda 3 was previously slated to open in March 2016, which seemed odd given how the first two Panda movies grossed $1.3 billion worldwide after releasing closer to the summertime.
The 3D animated threequel is now arriving in theaters during the 2015 Winter Holiday season on December 23rd, and recently added three more name actors to its already star-studded voice cast (headed again by Jack Black). Story-wise, it should build directly from the very last scene in Kung Fu Panda 2, which setup the next chapter in the ongoing legend of Po (we'll leave it at that, rather than spoil it for those who are behind on their Panda films).
Insidious Chapter 2 has only moved up a week to September 13th this year (kinda surprised FilmDistrict didn't schedule the horror sequel for the Friday the 13th date before), where it will have the crowd looking for a scare all to itself, while those in the mood for action can see Machete Kills, Schwarzenegger/Stallone's Escape Plan, or both.
Director James Wan's much buzzed-about scarefest The Conjuring opens first this year, before he continues the Insidious story with cast members Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Barbara Hershey and Lin Shaye all returning (either as the living, the dead, or even the possessed).
Pompeii will reach theaters by February 28th, 2014, under seven months before its director Paul W.S. Anderson releases his sixth Resident Evil installment. The film stars Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) as a gladiator who races to save the noblewoman (Emily Browning) he loves before a volcanic eruption destroys Pompeii, an event that brings him face-to-face with the man responsible for him being enslaved (Kiefer Sutherland).
Rounding out the cast are Jared Harris (Mad Men), Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Thor: The Dark World) and Jessica Lucas (Evil Dead). Sounds like Anderson is making the sort of ancient-world melodrama that's up Roland Emmerich's alley (see: 10,000 B.C.) - a surefire critical winner, right?
Lastly, I, Frankenstein has been pushed back from September 13th to January 24th, 2014, where the 3D comic book movie - starring Aaron Eckhart (Olympus Has Fallen) as the Frankenstein monster, caught in a war between semi-immortal clans - will face off against the Schwarzenegger-headlined thriller Ten.
This is the second major release date change for the project, which is based on the graphic novel by Kevin Grievoux (co-creator of Underworld) and adapted for the screen by writer-director Stuart Beattie, who previously wrote Collateral and co-wrote films like Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Australia, and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. It has an intriguing premise and strong leading man, but the multiple lengthy delays are troubling (as is the new January date...).
Insidious Chapter 2 opens in theaters on September 13th, 2013.
I, Frankenstein arrives on January 24th, 2014.
Pompeii hits theaters on February 28th, 2014.
Kung Fu Panda 3 arrives on December 23rd, 2015.
Source: Lionsgate, FilmDistrict, Fox