April 19, 2013

Sony Blinks: “After Earth” Flies Away from Superman


With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, the opening dates for blockbuster movies are carefully calculated months–sometimes years–in advance.  So a last minute change doesn’t come from nowhere, and it’s notable that with less than 2 months to go, Sony has moved its Will Smith/M. Night Shyamalan vehicle AFTER EARTH from its previous June 7 slot to May 31.  It’s a risky move, because although After Earth doesn’t face much competition from the other May 31 openings (just Lionsgate’s Jesse Eisenberg/Morgan Freeman caper movie NOW YOU SEE IT and Universal’s Ethan Hawke horror movie THE PURGE), the reason that weekend was so empty is because it’s expected to be dominated by the previous week’s Memorial Day tentpoles, THE HANGOVER PART III (Warners), FAST & FURIOUS 6 (Universal) and EPIC (20th).  Even with a week under their belts, that trio may pack considerable punch.  But Sony was apparently afraid of having only one week of clear play before Warners opens MAN OF STEEL on June 14–while the new Superman faced a ton of bad buzz when it was first announced (Zack Snyder?  Really?), the marketing for it has become increasingly impressive, and it now looks like it could be quite formidable when it opens.

Meanwhile, the happiest studio in town is 20th, which now owns the June 7 weekend with its relatively modest Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson comedy THE INTERNSHIP.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."