Update, Aug. 19: Universal’s R-rated Seth Rogen-Bill Hader-Zach Galifianakis space comedy has rocketed off next year’s Memorial Day schedule; in fact it’s completely off the calendar. We originally heard about this last week when Rogen was on Howard Stern, but it wasn’t clear what the fate of the production was; Uni hadn’t officially pulled the comedy off the schedule at that time. Sony was in-the-know, and thus, moved its space alien thriller Life on to the four-day holiday weekend. Now Memorial Day is just a fight between Life and Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Essentially, Sony is looking to nab those older men who might have just had it with the Johnny Depp franchise.
We’ve heard scheduling was the main hurdle keeping the Rogen-Hader-Galifianakis space comedy, which was announced in March, from moving forward.
Rogen is enjoying a bump at the box office currently with Sony/Annapurna’s Sausage Party which he co-produced, co-wrote and provides a lead voiceover in. The film will clear $67M by Sunday at the domestic box office through 10 days. Hader’s IFC series Documentary Now!, which he co-created and stars in, is nominated for a Primetime Emmy in the variety sketch series category. Galifianakis has the upcoming Relativity comedy Masterminds on Sept. 30, the 20th Century Fox comedy Keeping Up With the Joneses on Oct. 21, and Warner Bros.’ The Lego Batman Movie on Feb. 10.
Previous, Aug. 11: Columbia Pictures/Skydance International Space Station thriller Life will float away from its March 24 date next year and be one of three titles to kick off 2017 Memorial Day weekend on May 26. This sets up quite a fight for guys during the four-day holiday.
Life, which stars Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson, will now go up against Disney’s four-quad target, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. But that’s not all, audiences will have to choose between two sides of sci-fi, either Life or Universal’s untitled comedy starring Zach Galifianakis, Bill Hader and Seth Rogen, which is still on the schedule per Universal and ComScore.
Sources close to Life are stoked by the production dailies and believe that Sony has an edge here for the holiday weekend. Directed by Daniel Espinosa, Life tells the story of the six-member crew of the International Space Station who are on the cutting edge of one of the most important discoveries in human history: the first possible proof of extraterrestrial life on Mars. As the crew begins to conduct research, their methods prove to have unintended consequences as the life form proves more intelligent than ever expected.
This past Memorial Day weekend saw two expensive movies, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse vs. Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, face off against each other. X-Men came in under expectations with a four-day of $79.8M, while Disney saw its second back-to-back Memorial Day casualty after 2015’s Tomorrowland ($42.7M four-day, $93.4M domestic) with Alice 2 debuting to $33.5M and finaling at $76.9M. Nonetheless, total tickets sales for the holiday were up 6% to $205.4M.
Life leaves behind on the March 24 date, Lionsgate’s Power Rangers and Warner Bros. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.