'Ninja Turtles' and 'Hercules' Change Release Dates; 'Annie' Arrives Christmas 2014

Currently, producer Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans) are rebooting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action movie franchise with Ninja Turtles. Meanwhile, Rush Hour trilogy director Brett Ratner is tackling ancient world mythology with a Hercules comic book adaptation starring Dwayne Johnson, and Sony is teaming with producers Will Smith and Jay-Z to remake the Annie stage musical.

Ninja Turtles has been embroiled in controversy eve since Bay dropped the bomb that the Turtles are now aliens, leading TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman (who's consulting on the reboot) to spend much of last year defending the new approach by naming recent films ranging from the cult hit The Raid: Redemption to Marvel's game-changer The Avengers as inspiration. Unfortunately, the recent casting of Megan Fox as April O'Neil has fans raging again (and not without good reason).

Paramount previously delayed Ninja Turtles from a Christmas Day 2013 launch to May 2014, but its latest date shift isn't so drastic. The movie's been pushed back three weeks to June 6th of next year, where it currently has no direct competition (though, Jurassic Park IV opens a week later). The Turtles were going to face off against Legendary's Godzilla reboot on its previous May 16th date, so this sounds like a smart move by studio executives.

Hercules is based on the acclaimed "Hercules: The Thracian Wars" comic book, which was adapted for the big screen by Ryan Condal (a co-writer on Alex Proyas' currently-abandoned Paradise Lost movie). The combination of Johnson as the title character and Ratner calling the shots has prompted mixed feelings about the whole thing, but the elements are in place for Hercules to perform well at the box office in the busy Summer 2014 movie season.

Similar to Ninja Turtles, Paramount has moved Hercules up by just two weeks, so it now releases on July 25th, 2014, rather than August 8th. It's now slated to face the second weekends at the box office for Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Hobbit: There and Back Again (one of those two may be changing dates before then). Marvel is releasing Guardians of the Galaxy one week after Hercules, so there's going to be some intense competition at the box office during those weeks.

Last, but not least, Sony is unveiling Annie starring Oscar-nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) 5-6 months after the above-mentioned films, on Christmas Day 2014. There weren't any significant updates to report about the remake for nearly two years, until this past January. At that point, Will Gluck (Easy A, Friends with Benefits) came aboard as director and Willow Smith was announced to be no longer playing the title role.

Annie is opening directly against Night at the Museum 3, with Disney's Brad Bird project Tomorrowland and the Despicable Me spinoff arriving a week earlier. Family-friendly entertainment tends to thrive during the Winter Holiday season, so that extra demand should help each of these films to reach a sizable audience.


Ninja Turtles flies into theaters on June 6th, 2014.

Hercules arrives two months later on July 25th, 2014.

Annie hits the scene on December 25th, 2014.


Source: Paramount Pictures, Sony

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'Ninja Turtles' and 'Hercules' Change Release Dates; 'Annie' Arrives Christmas 2014