We're closing in on two years from when the last Steven Spielberg-directed movie (the Oscar-winner Lincoln) hit theaters. Since then, the filmmaker has been linked to a couple projects (Robopocalypse, Gods and Kings) that have since either been put on the back burner or fallen into development hell. Recently, the word's been that Spielberg will next direct a currently-untitled Cold War drama, followed by a live-action movie based on Roald Dahl's The BFG; today, we can confirm the news, as these films now have official release dates.
Spielberg's E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison was hired a few years ago to adapt The BFG - Dahl's book about the young orphan Sophie, who befriends the whimsical, dream-delivering, Big Friendly Giant, BFG for short (let the FPS jokes commence). As for Spielberg's Cold War drama, the script by Matt Charman tells the true story U.S. attorney James Donovan, who negotiated the release of an American pilot captured by the Soviet Union during the Cold War; we learned a few weeks back that Chapman's screenplay has been revised by the Oscar-winning Coen Brothers.
Previously, it was indicated that it's Spielberg's intention to shoot his Cold War drama (starring Tom Hanks as Mr. Donovan) in the months ahead, before he starts production on the more effects-heavy BFG adaptation in 2015. We can now confirm that will happen, as Walt Disney Pictures - which is co-backing the dual DreamWorks' projects - has announced that Spielberg's latest period drama/thriller will hit theaters on October 16th, 2015, followed by The BFG some 8-9 months later on July 1st, 2016.
The combination of Spielberg, Coen Brothers, Hanks, and historical subject matter with relevant political overtones, makes this Cold War project sound rather intriguing; no wonder, then, it's been positioned as a prospective awards season contender. As it stands, Spielberg's drama will only have opening weekend competition in Guillermo del Toro's haunted house film throwback, Crimson Peak; we expect that the two movies will be able to coexist in peace, as far as box office goes.
BFG currently has opening weekend competition from the Angry Birds animated feature, Independence Day 2 and the Tarzan reboot by director David Yates (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 & 2). Logic suggests Warner Bros. will blink and shift Tarzan to another date before 20th Century Fox budges on having Independence Day 2 in theaters by the Fourth of July holiday frame. We've still got over two years to go until then, so there's a very good chance that at least one of these four movies will have moved away by that time.
As we've said before, this is classic Spielberg: release two film in close proximity, with each movie being rather different in terms of style, budget, tone, and overall content. Spielberg has generally done very good work by using this approach, most recently with War Horse and Adventures of Tintin in 2011 - and even some of the best films of his career in the past (see: Jurassic Park and Schindler's List in 1993). So, for our money, this is an encouraging development.
Spielberg's untitled Cold War drama/thriller hits theaters on October 16th, 2015, followed by The BFG on July 1st, 2016.
Source: Walt Disney Pictures