Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One' Moves To Avoid 'Star Wars'; 'The Flash' Moves Up One Week

A few weeks ago, Disney bumped Star Wars Episode VIII from May 2017 to December 15, 2017. The move made perfect sense from a business standpoint: Episode VII had a record-breaking run in December, and why fix what's not broken? But the announcement put the rest of the 2017 release calendar into disarray. Pirates of the Caribbean moved from July to MaySpider-Man swung from late July to early JulyJumanji jumped up from December to July.

And the effects are still rippling outward. Now Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One has been pushed off the 2017 slate entirely, in an effort to get out of Episode VIII's way. Meanwhile, The Flash is, appropriately enough, getting here a bit faster than we expected — it's been bumped up one week by Warner Bros. 

Exhibitor Relations reports Ready Player One will arrive March 30, 2018 instead of December 15, 2017. That winter date would've put Ready Player One in direct competition with Star Wars Episode VIII, while its new spring date pits it directly against Universal's The Wolf Man. With all due respect to the horror icon, it seems pretty obvious that the adorably friendly BB-8 is the much bigger threat.

And avoiding Episode VIII isn't the only advantage of the new release date. The delay gives Spielberg more time to finish his film, and the Warner Bros. marketing team more opportunities to sell it — like during the Winter Olympics, which as TheWrap points out will take place just a few weeks before. March 30 also happens to be Easter weekend, putting Ready Player One in prime position for families enjoying spring break.

Based on the bestselling novel by Ernest ClineReady Player One follows a teenage gamer who spends most of his time in a virtual reality world known as Oasis. When he gets caught up in a hunt for a vast fortune, his online troubles start to have real-world consequences. Much of the competition revolves around 1980s trivia, which I suppose makes it perfect for our current nostalgia-obsessed age. Olivia Cooke and Ben Mendelsohn are set to star, and the search is underway for a young male lead.

In other news, Warner Bros. has also moved The Flash, to be directed by Seth Grahame-Smith and starring Ezra Miller, up one week from March 23, 2018 to March 16, 2018. This should give the comic book adventure some breathing room before Ready Player One hits theaters. Indeed, March 2018 is going to be a very busy time for the studio, as they've also set an "untitled event film" for March 2, 2018. And April 20, 2018 will bring an "untitled New Line tentpole," which may or may not be San Andreas 2.

It seems Warner Bros. is trying to carve out a place for themselves in March. While the studio didn't have any major releases in March 2015, it's anticipating a big hit this year in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which opens March 25.

Here's the tl;dr rundown of Warner Bros.' new release date changes:

  • March 2, 2018: Untitled Warner Bros. Event Film
  • March 16, 2018: The Flash (formerly March 23, 2018)
  • March 30, 2018: Ready Player One (formerly December 15, 2017)
  • April 20, 2018: Untitled New Line Tentpole