Saturday, December 31, 2011

Seeing the future

We all know that wikipedia is good for almost everything. Well, you can take the "almost" off of "almost everything."

One of my favorite areas of wikipedia is the "year in film" pages. Like, if you want to know the (North American) release dates of all the films that came out in 2011, go to "2011 in film" and it's all there for you. And, since I frequently do want to know the release dates of all the films that came out in 2011, organized neatly in a chronological chart, I do frequently go to this page. It's really useful for tasks like figuring out which movies I still want to see before I close my year-end rankings (on January 24th -- I know, I know, I mention it in every post).

But wikipedia doesn't stop at 2011. The film page for 2012 is almost entirely filled out. And there are significant entries for 2013 and 2014 as well.

It makes sense that these future release dates would be known. Everyone's talking about the May 2013 release date of the next Star Trek movie, for example. But it kind of amazed me that the good people at wikipedia have dutifully entered all known release dates for all movies in post-production, production, pre-production or even still in the typewriter of some malnourished screenwriter. Consolidated in a couple of exhaustive pages.

So I thought I'd take you through the trip I recently took down this rabbit hole into the future, to discuss some notable release dates of movies that are all just glints in our collective eye right now. So we don't have to dutifully blow through the John Carters and Loraxes due out in the spring and all the Batmen and Spidermen due out next summer, let's skip ahead and start next fall.

September 14, 2012: Resident Evil: Retribution. I guess this answers my question from this post. Hey, if there are going to be four Underworlds, why not five Resident Evils?

September 28, 2012: Looper. A sort of Inception-like thriller from Brick director Rian Johnson. Another blogger I read mentioned this movie in something like the summer of 2010, so it blows my mind that it's still this far from coming out.

October 5, 2012: Taken 2. Liam Neeson's daughter gets kidnapped again -- I guess. Maybe this time it's by the Taliban. Go America!

October 5, 2012 and October 26, 2012: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D and Halloween 3D. My my. More unnaturally fast reboots of horror series that had already been recently rebooted. But this time -- 3D!

November 2, 2012: Red Dawn. Another much-discussed remake. Another miniscule box office haul.

November 9, 2012: Skyfall. Doesn't it feel very recent that the James Bond franchise was in serious jeopardy of not continuing?

November 16, 2012: Twilight - Breaking Dawn: Part 2. It will be over. Finally.

November 21, 2012: Gravity. Alfonso Cuaran directs his follow-up to the masterpiece Children of Men. Finally.

December 14, 2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I have to say, we sort of expected it. (But I'm looking forward to it.)

December 21, 2012: Life of Pi. I read this book. I remember like five years ago when they were talking about M. Night Shyamalan directing this. Now it's Ang Lee.

December 21, 2012: World War Z. I did not read this book. I tried. I really tried. I just found it too boring to read interviews with people talking about a zombie war that had already happened. Where's the immediate danger?

December 25, 2012: Django Unchained. Quentin.

December 25, 2012: The Great Gatsby. The prestige picture of next holiday season. Directed by Baz Luhrmann! In 3D!

Okay, 2012 release dates are not that impressive. But when we hit the year 2013, it starts to feel spooky. Who knows what the world could be like two years from now? (Okay, just over a year, but go with me -- it sounds futuristic.)

March 8, 2013: Oz: The Great and Powerful. Did you know Sam Raimi was directing this?

March 15, 2013: Ender's Game. Read this too. The kid from Hugo is starring. Let's hope he's not too old by then. (Well, they're filming now, so, I guess it should be okay.)

March 27, 2013: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters. Really.

March 29, 2013: The Host. American remake.

April 12, 2013: Evil Dead. Not directed by Raimi -- he's busy on some Wizard of Oz sequel/prequel -- but at least he's producing.

May 3, 2013: Iron Man 3. So I guess he doesn't die in The Avengers.

May 10, 2013: Pacific Rim. Guillermo del Toro's horror movie that I actually think might be sort of like The Host. Have been hearing about this since 2009, it seems like.

May 17, 2013: Untitled Star Trek Sequel. And we get to the untitleds. (Actually, there were already some that I skipped over.)

May 24, 2013: Fast Six. Of course there is.

May 31, 2013: The Lone Ranger. Johnny Depp as Tonto.

June 14, 2013: Man of Steel. Superman reboot. I originally thought it was coming out next summer. But maybe one summer couldn't handle one movie each for the holy triumvirate of superheroes: Superman, Batman and Spiderman. (Or, more realistically, they aren't on that shooting schedule and never were.)

July 3, 2013: Despicable Me 2. Does there? Have to be?

July 3, 2013: Robopocalypse. Spielberg.

July 26, 2013: Dirty Dancing. And why is it taking them this long to churn out this film?

August 2, 2013: The Smurfs 2 and Red 2. Red will fight blue in an epic battle to the death.

November 15, 2013: Thor 2. I guess he doesn't die in The Avengers, either. Aren't these interweaving plot lines going to get messy?

December 13, 2013: The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Keeping with the previous Tolkien release schedule of coming out in consecutive Decembers.

2014? Could there be?

April 4, 2014: Untitled Marvel Studios Film. They don't know what it will be about, but they know there will be one and they know it will come out on this date.

May 2, 2014: The Amazing Spider-Man 2: First sequel to a movie that has not come out yet. Bold.

May 16, 2014: Untitled Marvel Studios Film. They also don't know what this will be about, but they also know that this will be the date it's unleashed on the world. Aren't they supposed to eventually make Ant-Man?

June 20, 2014: How to Train Your Dragon 2. Not, apparently, "How to quickly follow up a successful movie with a sequel."

December 2014 TBA: Avatar 2. At last, a release date that is not apparently set in stone. My contention: No one really cares about seeing what happens next with these characters.

What? 2015? Is that even the name of a year?

December 2015 TBA: Avatar 3. See previous comment.

And that's where the projections end, at least. However, I should say that wikipedia offers visible, functional hyperlinks to the years all the way out to 2023. (They all redirect to the page called "2013 and beyond in film." Which itself is probably a short-timer, since 2014 will soon have enough entries to stand on its own.)

I just find it interesting that there are established release dates for movies that are coming out two-and-a-half years from now. Of course they aren't set in stone, but I do think it's funny. I suppose you want to get in early, stake your claim, not lose the release date to another movie intended for the same target audience.

If it isn't obvious, seeing the future like this gives me a bit of a thrill (even as I tease). So as we say goodbye to 2011, I'm already ready to say hello to ... 2016.

I mean, it can't be long before "2016 in film" is up and running.

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