In this modern age, where studios plan their productions so far in advance they are often booking release dates before anyone has lifted a pen to write a script, there is a lot of emphasis on the choices made regarding the timing and size of a film rollout. Today, that emphasis is being applied to Everest, as Universal Pictures has decided to push its 2015 release date back seven whole months.
The film is a 3D adventure thriller, directed by Baltasar Kormakur (2 Guns). Based on various books and survivor testimony regarding the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, it details how three separate climbing expeditions were engulfed in a sudden, fatal storm. Starring an ensemble cast including Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners), Josh Brolin (Labor Day), and John Hawkes (The Sessions), the film is a co-production between Universal Pictures, Cross Creek, Walden Media and Working Title.
The reason for the release date scrutiny of any film is that it often makes a statement about the attitude of the studio towards the project. Broadly speaking, a summer date suggests high confidence, while a winter date does not. A fall date suggests possible awards season campaigning, and a date that clashes with other releases suggests that the studio are willing to bet big. Changing a release date can indicate either a reassessment on the part of the studio, having seen footage, or possibly problems in post-production, depending on what the move is intended to achieve.
In the case of Everest, Universal Pictures have moved it from February 2015 to September 2015 – which might be considered a positive thing, since it brings it closer to the traditional ‘awards season’ release window. However, a closer look reveals that, on its original release date, the film would have been competing with both the Will Smith/Margot Robbie starring comedy Focus, and the Ryan Reynolds sci-fi thriller Selfless. In its new September slot, Everest will basically have free reign.
Though it is certainly possible that the delayed release suggests problems with the film, it is important to remember that it is a visually complex, 3D movie. The release of 2013’s 3D film Gravity was also delayed, and that film proved to be excellent. As we hope the also delayed Batman vs. Superman movie will prove, sometimes spending a little more time on something takes it to a whole new level of awesome.
Everest will now be released on September 18th, 2015.