Release dates can be a fickle thing. With new movies being released all the time, studios shifting their films around to ensure the highest chance of success is just a natural part of the business. Toward the end of a fiscal year, especially, a film studio will quite often move bigger projects around to avoid crowding a particular weekend with heavy competition in the same target audience. Just recently, the upcoming Baywatch film from Paramount Pictures pushed its release back a week to avoid such competition, opening the floodgates for other studios to follow suit.
With 2017 being a particularly crowded year in terms of anticipated films, it was anyone’s guess as to what studio would budge first. Now, however, it looks like Warner Bros. is the next film studio to announce schedule changes, shifting quite a few of their more anticipated upcoming films to different dates.
Via Deadline, Warner Bros. has announced its intention to move upcoming films like King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, CHIPS, and Annabelle 2 to different dates, among other films in their vast catalogue. Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is moving from March 24 to May 12; Dax Shepard’s adaptation of CHIPS shifts from August 11 to March 24; Annabelle 2 takes CHIPS August 11 date, moving from May 19.
Of the trio of films being moved, Annabelle 2’s retreat from the weekend before Memorial Day is the smartest. Alien: Covenant is slated to open the same weekend, and since that film will more than likely appeal to the same horror crowd as Annabelle 2, separating it from the competition makes sense. More worrisome, however, is CHIPS which now moves into direct competition with the upcoming Power Rangers - though that will certainly appeal to a different audience than CHIPS, so not all hope is lost. King Arthur’s move should also prove fruitful, as the only thing that could be construed as competition is Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn’s Mother/Daughter, but again it will more than likely appeal to a different audience.
For some moviegoers, of course, it won’t really matter when these films are released, especially in the case of Annabelle 2. While the first film did gross over $250 million at the box office, its critical and fan reception was less-than-stellar when compared to its forerunner film, The Conjuring. Still, horror films tend to be critic-proof and with their normally low budgets, it’s easy for studios like Warner Bros. to make an easy profit. King Arthur could also prove a difficult sell, especially based on the poor reception of the last King Arthur film with Clive Owen in the titular role. Either way, fans will have to wait and see if Warner Bros.' schedule shift proves to be the right move.