We kind of saw this coming, but at the same time, the news is a bit of a bummer. Star Wars Episode VIII-The Revenge of the Box Office, will now be opening in December of 2017 instead of the original May slot. The news comes as The Force Awakens inches ever closer to the worldwide box office record that Avatar broke in 2009. Avatar is also getting perpetually pushed back from the box office, as the film has now been pushed from the Christmas 2017 spot to God knows when. But, things may not be so dreary, as we get a rumor that Disney is looking to push their huge expansion of Star Wars Land up significantly.
By now, everyone has heard the news that Star Wars Episode VIII has been pushed back by about seven months. The next installment in the Skywalker based saga was supposed to bow in May of 2017, just in time for the 40th anniversary of the original films. Now, the film is getting pushed back to December of 2017, which is the same thing that happened to The Force Awakens. Why? Well, the reason could be the record breaking box office. That time frame in December is traditionally not filled with a ton of major Hollywood blockbusters, instead studios tend to fill the end of December with Oscar contenders and family films.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has broken the domestic box office record with $879 million, and a worldwide total of $1.9 billion (as of this posting). That’s a pretty good reason to move the next installment to Christmas, with hopes of lightning striking twice and an even bigger box office return.
The other big reason is that Avatar 2 was also planned to be released on Christmas of 2017, but will now be pushed back to later date.
While the new trilogy in the Skywalker Saga will wrap up in 2019, it looks like Disney is going to try and capitalize on that final film in the new trilogy and could see their highly anticipated Star Wars Land opening in December of 2018. Our friends over at Mice Chat has a rumor that says not only will the new land be open in 2018, but they also have a new map of the area, which will take a page from the Diagon Alley book and be completely hidden from the rest of the park. That’s a massive undertaking, seeing that Disney is notoriously slow on getting their projects rolling. Their Avatar Land in Florida is finally going to be in the early stages of opening later this year, with a grand opening expected in 2017. That project was originally slated to be open around 2015.
The other big reason is that Universal Studios Hollywood is bringing out the huge new Wizarding World of Harry Potter this Spring, and could very well have the Diagon Alley area ready to go by 2019. Universal has had a stellar record of construction, with massive new projects opening every year. With all eyes on Star Wars, Disney hopes to pull the would-be Harry Potter fans away from Universal and tie in a new Star Wars film with the new land. There is no word on whether or not Walt Disney World will also see a 2018 opening date for Star Wars Land, but execs did say that they were going to build them at the same time.
So, what will Disney do for a Star Wars 40th anniversary? To find the possible answer, we need to look back to Universal and Halloween Horror Nights. In 2015, John Landis let it slip that Disney was going to be releasing the theatrical cuts of Star Wars in theaters.
Video-John Landis talks theatrical cut of Star Wars
Since Landis’ comments, Disney has not said one way or another if they were going to do a theatrical cut or not…however, the 40th anniversary certainly seems like a great time to have the new films in theaters, and a great way to fill in the summer months-now that the new film is pushed back to December. Fans all over the globe have been flocking to anniversary screenings of films, with Back to the Future and JAWS both celebrating huge milestones in 2015. Those special screenings were limited to a run of just a few nights, and were followed with an anniversary DVD release. This could be the “money on the floor” that Landis talks about in the video clip above.