Thing Prequel, “Fast 5” Date Changes

Universal Pictures has performed a notable shakeup of their 2011 slate with three of their major films slotting into new dates.

The most surprising is “The Thing”, the studio’s upcoming prequel to the 1982 John Carpenter classic. Late Friday the studio yanked the film from its planned April 29th release date and hasn’t commented on the decision as yet, nor offered a new release date. The move has prompted a lot of speculation about the film’s fate, with no-one offering any solid reasoning.

Moviehole had the most reasonable explanation – that director Matthijs van Heijningen has demanded more time. The filmmaker is “an artist… he works to his own schedule, and will only hand in his piece when he feels it’s finished”, and so the studio isn’t entirely happy that he’s not fitting in neatly with their plans.

Despite the delay, their source says the film “hasn’t been a troubled production. It hasn’t endured weeks of reshoots. It hasn’t chopped and changed directors. It hasn’t been edited a bunch of more times. It hasn’t tested badly.” Another reasoning that has come up on various sites for the push is also the most logical – economics. The studio’s “Fast Five”, the fifth film in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise, has been moved up two months from June 10th to The Thing’s old April 29th release slot.

This makes sense as the previous entry in the series, “Fast and Furious”, came out in April 2009 and easily scored the biggest opening and total gross for the series ahead of the previous three films which all had June openings. Also, unlike recent years, the only major action film ‘Five’ has to compete with for several weeks is “Thor” which, lets face it, is not a guaranteed slam dunk like this year’s “Iron Man 2”.

Those worried about ‘Thing’ however only have to look at the third change – “Dream House”. The Jim Sheridan-directed, Daniel Craig-led thriller was scheduled for a February 18th bow and got yanked from Universal’s schedule three weeks ago due to some required reshoots. Now, the studio has reinserted it back into its slate with a September 30th release on the cards.