Moving "Episode VIII" also follows the same trajectory of Disney's "The Force Awakens" which was originally planned for a 2015 summer release, but was moved to December 18. The report also claimed that shooting would be delayed a month, but Disney's press release today said Episode VIII is now in pre-production and will begin principal photography in London next month.
It will feature the stars of "The Force Awakens": Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. In the popular holiday moviegoing corridor, it smashed numerous records, including biggest domestic and global debuts of all time as well as the biggest domestic second and third weekends, en route to becoming the highest grossing domestic release of all time with over $861M and the third biggest global release ever with $1.887B.
Though "Star Wars" was once synonymous with the summer blockbuster, the date change means that the franchise will again look to dominate movie theaters in the holiday season.
One movie definitely affected is Steven Spielberg's "Ready Player One", a science-fiction release for Warner Bros. The launch of the parallel Star Wars anthology series arrives December 16 of this year with Rogue One. It's scheduled for the same December 15 weekend in 2017. The next "Spider-Man", starring Tom Holland and directed by Jon Watts, shifted up three weeks to July 28, 2017. Episode VII's director, J.J. Abrams, is still attached as one of the film's executive producers.
The follow-up to last year's The Force Awakens was originally scheduled for release on May 26, 2017 but it has now been pushed back to December 15, 2017.