Director Ridley Scott return to outer space this year with the "science-fiction lite" film The Martian, starring Matt Damon and based on the popular novel by Andy Weir. Scott's last couple of directorial efforts have disappointed both critically and commercially, but already Martian is showing signs that it could serve as a return to form (on both fronts) for the filmmaker, with its marketing off to a strong start after a well-received viral teaser and theatrical trailer to boot.
20th Century Fox had previously positioned The Martian to open in theaters over the highly-competitive 2015 Thanksgiving holiday frame, but following the trailer reception (more on that shortly) the studio appears to have recognized the film has greater potential than it originally anticipated. Hence, Fox has shifted Scott's movie forward to the proceeding month, while replacing it in November with Victor Frankenstein, a fresh re-imagining of Mary Shelley's sci-fi/horror classic that has gone through more than one release date change-up already.
Deadline picked up the news, reporting that The Martian will now open in U.S. theaters on October 2nd, 2015. That means Scott's film (penned for the screen by Cabin In the Woods co-writer/director and Daredevil TV series creator Drew Goddard) will be arriving close to exactly two years after Alfonso Cuarón's own space survival adventure, Gravity, hit the scene on its way to becoming a multi-Oscar winning box office smash. It's a bit much to think history could repeat itself, but The Martian is certainly earning its fair share of attention right now (its theatrical trailer has gotten over eight million views on the official Fox Youtube channel alone, by this point).
The Martian will have competition during its opening weekend from Robert Zemeckis' 3D drama/thriller The Walk and the action movie sequel London Has Fallen, both of which (like Martian) are geared more towards an adult audience. However, there's not per se that much direct overlap between these films' target demographics (given their distinct differences in genre), and of the three it's Scott's movie that currently appears to be positioned to make a big splash at the box office.
Victor Frankenstein, meanwhile, is now due to hit the scene on November 25th, 2015, where the film will face-off with Pixar Animation's The Good Dinosaur, Warner Bros. Rocky franchise sequel/spinoff Creed, and Warm Bodies director Jonathan Levine's currently-untitled Christmas comedy (starring Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Fox's new Frankenstein movie could well manage to carve out some room for itself within that film pack, but it'll be tricky given that the vast majority of the market will be cornered by the competition.
It's plausible that Victor Frankenstein will attract those intrigued by this new spin on the story of Dr. Frankenstein (starring James McAvoy in the title role and Daniel Radcliffe as Igor), from screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle) and directed by Paul McGuigan (a key member of Sherlock's director circle). However, the film doesn't have a whole lot of good or bad buzz right now, so it's difficult to judge how things might play out. The multiple release dates changes (Victor Frankenstein was once slated to open in Fall 2014) don't bode so well, admittedly.
The Martian opens in U.S. theaters on October 2nd, 2015. Victor Frankenstein will arrive on November 25th, 2015.