Though summer is only half done, studios are already prepping their next batch of warm-weather tentpoles. And we're not talking 2008 either, as films to the likes of Bond 23 and Prince of Persia are already on the drawing board; both are expected out in, wait for it, 2010.
Advanced Planning: Summer Tentpoles
With greater expectations from audiences and a higher demand for elaborate special effects, studios are being forced to plan out their release strategies for blockbuster releases far in advanced.
Studios are already battling for release dates in 2009. James Cameron's (Fox) 3-D Avatar, set for May 22, 2009, is already set to go up against DreamWorks' Monsters vs. Aliens, which also just happens to be 3-D. Since theaters with the necessary projectors are likely to still be limited in 2009, the competition should be fierce.
Advanced planning isn't limited to 3-D films either. Disney has already given Narnia 3 a May 1, 2009 release date, though we have yet to see even the slightest teaser trailer for Prince Caspian. Columbia Pictures is already wrapping its mind around Bond 23, set for a 2010 release, while Bond 22 remains in production.
"As films rely increasingly on CGI, you have to think further and further out, and it's harder to distinguish from picture to picture, so that puts more pressure on you to get the right date," says Fox Entertainment president Hutch Parker. "If you don't, it can really bite you."
Not wanting to be outdone for most-advanced-planned release, Disney announced that the Jerry Bruckheimer adaptation of Prince of Persia will hit theaters on July 10, 2009. The project has been in development for over three years, and is still without a director -- Michael Bay is a possibility -- and a script.
Why such advanced planning? It turns out that a firm release date means a firm start date. The Pirates sequels followed a similar approach with the joke being, "We're not shooting a script, we're filming a release date."
No matter how far in advance these films are plotted out, we can always count on seeing the director and editing crew working last minute to tweak some final effects.
Stay tuned for updates.