Universal Pictures has set a 2015 date for horror comedy Krampus, the Christmas-set flick to be directed by Trick ‘R Treat‘s Michael Dougherty. The yuletide frightener co-written by Dougherty, Todd Casey and Zach Shields is based on the ancient legend of a pagan demon who punishes wicked children – a really bad Santa. Producers are Legendary’s Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni and Alex Garcia. Krampus will hit theaters Wednesday, November 25, 2015 just in time to go up against Disney’s The Good Dinosaur, Fox’s The Martian, and WB’s Midnight Special for the Thanksgiving crowd.
Universal and Legendary have additionally set an August 12, 2016 date for the 3D thriller Spectral, about an elite Special Ops team on the trail of a phantom threat that can’t be explained. Nic Mathieu is directing James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Max Martini and Bruce Greenwood in the pic scripted by Ian Fried, George Nolfi and John Gatins. Tull and Jashni are producing while Jillian Share and Guy Riedel are exec producers on the project.
Also making moves on the release calendar is Open Road Films, which has shuffled its Jake Gyllenhaal starrer Nightcrawler back two weeks from this October 17 to October 31, 2014. The LA-set thriller stars Gyllenhaal as a hungry crime journalist who muscles into the seedy world of freelance “nightcrawling,” chasing violent crimes for high paydays. Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, and Riz Ahmed also star in the pic written and directed by Dan Gilroy. Gyllenhaal is a producer alongside Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Michel Litvak, and David Lancaster. Executive producers are Gary Michael Walters and Betsy Danbury. The move takes Nightcrawler out of the crowded Oct. 17 frame where Relativity romance The Best Of Me, Fox Animation’s Book of Life, Universal’s Dracula Untold, and Sony’s WWII actioner Fury are vying for ticket-buyers. Now its only wide-release competition will be Nicole Kidman thriller Before I Go To Sleep since Halloween’s true genre options, horror anthology ABCs of Death 2, Daniel Radcliffe’s Horns, and Drafthouse’s bizarro Japanese action flick Why Don’t You Play In Hell?, are only opening in limited runs.