EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features is moving its action disaster pic London Has Fallen from the post MLK frame of January 22, 2016 to March 4, 2016. The first film, Olympus Has Fallen, went out in March 2013 becoming a surprise spring hit for its distributor Film District with a $30.4M opening weekend and a domestic cume of $98.9M. London‘s release date change stems from a couple of factors, in particular, the film is coming off strong research screenings, making a spring break launch prime for the sequel. In addition, more time is needed to complete the film’s VFX.
Focus Features president of domestic distribution Jim Orr told Deadline, “We’re convinced that we have the potential for a successful film with London Has Fallen and we want to give it all the time it needs in its production and put it in the strongest possible release window.”
The sequel is directed by Babak Najafi and follows U.S. secret service head Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) who is attempting to stop a massive assassination plot against a number of world leaders attending the British prime minister’s funeral. Assisting Banning are the President of the United States and an English MI-6 agent who rightly trusts no one. Recent research scores for a rough cut of London Has Fallen were a third higher in total positivity than Olympus. The film also charted higher with older females which is an added bonus.
London Has Fallen will go up against the following titles on March 4: Sony’s Sacha Baron Cohen comedy Grimsby, Disney’s animated title Zootopia, Open Road thriller Triple Nine starring Aaron Paul and Chiwetel Ejiofor and 20th Century Fox’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
London Has Fallen was written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt and Christian Gudegast. The film is being produced by Butler, Alan Siegel, Mark Gill, and Matt O’Toole. Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, John Thompson, and Christine Crow are EPs.