Star Wars: Episode VIII pushes Ready Player One into 2018

Who would win in a battle between Steven Spielberg and Star Wars? Believe it or not, this is a saga that’s played out on next year’s cinematic calendar, and the acclaimed director has come off second-best. The film adaptation of Ready Player One is now not hitting the big screen until 2018, to avoid launching on the same day as Episode VIII.

Ready Player One envisioned by Gordon Jones

Ready Player One envisioned by Gordon Jones

Not so long ago, Spielberg’s involvement alone would have made his project the big name on the block, but in recent years, things have changed. Released just a few months ago, The Force Awakens is already the third-highest grossing movie in history, fitting in behind James Cameron’s twin epics, Titanic and Avatar.

It’s all Disney’s fault. The publisher pushed the Star Wars sequel from May 2017 to December 15, which just happened to be the same day as Ernest Cline’s novel adaptation. And rather than try to pit both against each other, Warner Bros and crew decided to bow out gracefully and take a few months’ rest. Ready Player One will now launch on March 30, 2018, starring Ben Mendelsohn and a collection of unknown actors.

Whether or not it was forced, it’s a nice strategic choice for the studio – other than the animated Laika, there are no major movies (geek-friendly or otherwise) set to launch in April 2018, so Ready Player One has a chunk of time all to itself in the cinema. It also fits neatly between the Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, meaning there will be a certain demographic wandering around looking for something to do.

March is also looking interesting for cinema-goers: A new untitled DC Comics film (possibly a big screen version of The Flash?) hits on March 16, with Fox releasing an untitled animation a week later, and Sony showing off a surprising film adaptation of Peter Rabbit the same weekend. But that’s not all: Fox is also teasing a major “event” film on March 2, while New Line promises something that might just be a sequel to San Andreas on April 20.

Yes, it’s a little while off, but if you’re a movie fan, it might be worth stocking up on popcorn, 2018 is already looking huge.

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