Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) joined forces back in 2014 on the "Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers" sci-fi action/thriller Edge of Tomorrow: a modest commercial success, but enough of a critical hit and fan-favorite to keep hopes for a sequel alive. The actor/director pair have also made plans to eventually re-team on an original sci-fi project titled Luna Park (a space-based heist thriller). But, before any of that happens the duo have another film that's already in the can: a biopic formally known as Mena.
Mena, as was directed by Liman and written by Gary Spinelli (Stash House), has now been officially retitled American Made by Universal Pictures. The film stars Cruise as a real-life figure of controversy, Barry Seal, and began principal photography back in May of 2015. American Made made headlines in a bad way back in September of last year too, as a plane crash (resulting from bad weather) on the movie's set in Colombia resulted in the death of two people and serious injuries to a member of the crew.
Here is the updated synopsis for the film, complete with its new title:
In Universal Pictures’ AMERICAN MADE, Tom Cruise reunites with his Edge of Tomorrow director, Doug Liman, in this international escapade based on the outrageous (and real) exploits of Barry Seal, a hustler and pilot unexpectedly recruited by the CIA to run one of the biggest covert operations in U.S. history.
American Made was previously set to open in U.S. theaters on January 6th, 2017. That release date always seemed an odd choice for the new Cruise/Liman collaboration, seeing as the first week of January has often served as a post-winter holiday dumping ground for Hollywood studios to release films with weak commercial/critical prospects (see this year's The Forest, for example). Liman's film is now scheduled to open later next year on September 29th, instead.
That date is also currently being reserved for Sony's Denzel Washington-led The Equalizer 2. However, it's been a while since there was a significant update on that sequel, so it seems more likely to change release dates now. If not, then it will result in an interesting "Washington vs. Cruise" showdown at the box office. Sony also has a mystery "event" film set to arrive two weeks earlier though, so the studio doesn't "need" to release The Equalizer 2 and have it compete directly with American Made in the same month.
A late September theatrical release served the first Equalizer well at the box office in 2014 and looks to do the same for another Washington-headlined Antoine Fuqua film this year, in The Magnificent Seven. Not to mention, Black Mass - another biopic about a real-life figure of controversy presented as a genre movie, similar to American Made - did well enough by itself in mid-September 2015 too. The month in general seems to have become a lucrative frame for actor-driven drama/thrillers in recent years. As such, Universal moving American Made to that frame bodes well for the film - and suggests that the studio is confident that it has a winner on its hands.
American Made opens in U.S. theaters on September 29th, 2017.
Source: Universal Pictures