Here’s a slight scheduling flip-flop for you – following the rabid reception given to the first trailer for Ridley Scott’s The Martian this week, 20th Century Fox has seen fit to move up the science-fiction action-adventure from November 25 to October 2, simultaneously moving Victor Frankenstein out of the October spot into The Martian‘s old Thanksgiving weekend.
Fox is certainly hoping to capitalize on awards buzz for the former film, which stars Matt Damon as an astronaut who gets stranded on the Red Planet. Gravity, a similarly-themed pic which went on to become a heavy hitter at its year’s Academy Awards, opened on October 4, 2013.
Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Donald Glover also star in The Martian. The film will now open against another awards contender in Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk, as well as actioner London Has Fallen and culinary comedy Adam Jones.
As for Victor Frankenstein, which has far less buzz heading into the fall, that pic is a retelling of the Mary Shelley classic starring James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, Jessica Brown Findlay and Andrew Scott. Its awards chances aren’t considered strong, and it’s mostly targeting horror fans, which is likely why Fox felt comfortable moving the movie to the packed Thanksgiving slot opposite Warner Bros.’ Creed, Disney/Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur and – of course – Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.
This sort of shuffling isn’t uncommon as a major studio reevaluates what its particular goals are for each movie on the schedule. Fox is already thinking about the Oscar race and trying to simultaneously figure out which pics could gross high at the box office while also drawing critical acclaim. Moving The Martian away from Mockingjay should give it a better shot at blockbuster numbers bolstered by the strong word-of-mouth the studio is expecting. Taking away competition for Victor Frankenstein is a bit less of a priority.