While most movies take an average of one year from the start of production to their eventual release, there's more to picking a release date than just getting a title on screens as soon as possible. Mad Max: Fury Road has been moved from its original fall 2014 release date to the 2015 summer blockbuster season, but that season is already filled to the brim with so many major movie releases than anything smaller could risk being crushed underfoot.
This, according to Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull, is one of the main reasons that Duncan Jones' video game adaptation Warcraft has been pushed back to a March 2016 release date (well, that and some indie flick called Star Wars: Episode VII took its old date), despite the fact that shooting will wrap shortly.
Starring Dominic Cooper, Ben Foster, Paula Patton and Robert Kazinsky among its principal cast, Warcraft has been described as having a very human story. What will take up a large chunk of the post-production window, however, are the non-humans and the creation of the world that the characters inhabit.
Speaking in an interview with Crave Online, Tull confirmed that the space of almost two years between Warcraft wrapping production and hitting theater screens is partially due to a need to release the movie within the best possible window, but that the post-production team will also be making good use of the time.
"Part of it is getting the date right. As you may have noticed, these next two years, there’s pretty big titles coming out. We wanted to make sure that we got that right, but there are some sequences and some things that Duncan Jones has done that are truly on the cutting edge. You want to have plenty of time to make sure that we dial those in. So by the time they get home and set up, it’ll be a little less than two years. It’ll be about 20 months but we really want to take our time and get this right because the technology that’s employed really is some next generation stuff."
Jones first drew attention for his low-budget sci-fi movie Moon, in which he used models and practical effects to create a convincing lunar station all within the confines of Shepperton Studios. The budget for Warcraft is estimated to be over $100 million, giving Jones a lot more to work with. That includes cutting-edge technology used to animate non-human characters, which has made massive progress in recent years thanks in large part to the performance capture techniques invented for Avatar.
Jones' only other feature film so far is Source Code, another sci-fi that messed with notions of linear time. When asked whether Warcraft's narrative of fantasy tribalism is a little more conventional in its storytelling, Tull made it clear that conventionality is not what Legendary is looking for from Jones.
"I would say it’s a linear story, but at the same time, it’s Duncan Jones. That’s what we wanted, was again that different flare, not just straightforward fantasy and everything. Look, it’s a privilege. Being able to go from Interstellar, [which is] our fifth movie with Chris Nolan into Guillermo del Toro and Gareth Edwards and now Duncan Jones. It’s really a privilege to work around these folks."
Legendary does indeed seem to be setting a pattern of choosing directors who have made names for themselves through lower-budget fare and slightly weird movies. Gareth Edwards, for example, was chosen to direct the upcoming Godzilla reboot on the strength of his only other feature film, Monsters: a sci-fi drama that was made for just $500,000.
Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim ended up being a bet that paid off for Legendary, and there's a great deal of hype for Godzilla already. Given the generous post-production window that Jones has been given to polish Warcraft, could another success be on the cards for Legendary in 2016?
Warcraft opens in theaters on March 11, 2016.
Source: Crave Online