Once again, Dark Phoenix is flying to a new release date.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the possible final mainline X-Men film from 20th Century Fox will now bow on June 7, 2019. Previously, it was intended for release in November of this year before moving to a February 14th, 2019 date. The June 7th date was previously held in reserve for Gambit, but as that film is nowhere near production, it has also moved its release to March 13, 2020.
Provided it gets made at all…
Alita: Battle Angel is also moving as part of Fox’s new plan. It will take Dark Phoenix‘s February 14th slot, sprinting away from a busy December 21st, 2018.
The strategy is interesting as it means these movies will be released as Fox becomes part of the Disney family. It may mean Alita will become something of an orphan in the post-merger world, but the changes are downright apocalyptic for the X-Men films. Dark Phoenix already feels like a funeral from its recent trailer, but moving Gambit to 2020 feels like wishful thinking as its story is more noteworthy for the people who’ve walked away from the project. It seems unlikely Marvel Studios will want that poisoned chalice when it takes control of Fox’s Marvel properties sometime next year.
The precarious situation may explain why Fox is experimenting with a PG-13 release of Deadpool 2 this winter. As a low-cost solution to the gap left by Alita, it also allows the current custodians of Wade Wilson to prove he can play nice in a Marvel Cinematic context. Which, honestly, isn’t really that hard to accomplish. What really needs to be seen is whether or not the audience will come to the theater or assume he is being “neutered” for family-friendly consumption.
Curiously, New Mutants is still slated for release in August of next year. Typically, its release date shifts in accord with Dark Phoenix, but by that point in the year, it may no longer matter with Fox completing its X-Men film series.
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