Though it’s easy to suggest a nine month move means a film’s in trouble, it’s hard to know what to make of Warner Bros.’s decision to move Bryan Singer‘s Jack the Giant Killer to March 2013. It’s much easier to judge their decision to scrap a release date on David Dobkin‘s Arthur & Lancelot, which puts the film into limbo.
If you saw the trailer for Jack the Giant Killer, it looked like a film that didn’t understand tone, or perhaps the trailer was misleading. Regardless, when your trailer hits with a thud – and it did – it’s either time to fix the trailer or the marketing. and from Warner Brother’s perspective, when you have three other big movies that summer (Dark Shadows, Rock of Ages, and The Dark Knight Rises), why take that chance? They’re going to have a big summer regardless, and March is more forgiving of less pre-sold films. It’s also worth noting that a big move doesn’t hurt a film. Titanic went from summer to winter, and Star Trek went from winter to summer, and it hurt neither. March may have once been an off season, but it’s now just as likely to launch a huge hit as anywhere else.
But it is hard to know if Arthur & Lancelot can survive this move. The film was pitched as a teen fantasy, and perhaps after Warner Brothers was burned by the failings of Red Riding Hood they don’t know if they can get the Twilight audience they were counting on. If the project quietly dies over the next couple weeks, this was just the harbinger, which was likely aided by Dobkin’s The Change Up bombing at the box office.
Does a release date change this drastic make you think a film is bad?