20th Century Fox pushed back the release dates on two of the year’s most anticipated blockbusters.

Two of 2018’s most anticipated releases have fallen further down the release calendar. ComingSoon.net has received word that 20th Century Fox is removing Alita: Battle Angel from its original July 20th release date to reposition it for a December 21st hot seat. And Shane Black’s return to The Predator is dropping out of its nearly competition-free August 3rd weekend and being repositioned on the desolate doldrums of September 14th. This is not the boldest vote in confidence from the studio. Should we be worried?

The Predator won’t have much opposition to slay that new weekend, either, fortunately. Its biggest challenger will be the canine caveman saga Alpha. But Alita: Battle Angel will now be surrounded by Holiday titans. December 21st also has Aquaman, the next big splash from the DC Extended Universe, as well as the Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly buddy detective comedy Holmes & Watson. Not to mention there’s the launch of the Peter Jackson produced teen adventure Mortal Engines and Miles Morales’ big screen debut in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse the weekend before. And, oh yeah, Mary Poppins will dominate Christmas Day. Alita’s firepower and anime eyes certainly can’t contend against Disney’s spoonful of sugar.

Alita: Battle Angel is one of those much-lauded properties within the geek community. Some have been waiting decades for that manga to get its proper cinematic due, while others fear Hollywood’s manipulation will only result in another misguided monstrosity like last year’s Ghost in the Shell. With James Cameron producing and Robert Rodriguez directing, Alita: Battle Angel certainly appears to have the vision of traditional fanboy royalty, but the question remains as to whether their idea of an ass-kicking female is still relevant in today’s pop culture landscape. Cameron and Rodriguez are more concerned with pushing technical boundaries these days, delighting in wizardry over character originality.

Originally positioned against The Equalizer sequel, The Predator’s removal from the summer season seems to be the larger loss. Sure, it’s now given some breathing room away from the sixth entry in the Mission: Impossible franchise which drops on July 27th, but if the film is as successful as the potential of its cast, The Predator had a chance to dominate the month of August. We’re still waiting on a trailer, so only time will tell if Fox is sitting on a dud with this one, but the passionate Predator fanatic inside me refuses to believe that Shane Black would deliver anything other than an action sci-fi masterpiece. Reminder: the lineup of this film is insane. Black has recruited Sterling K Brown, Jake Busey, Boyd Holbrook, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Edward James Olmos, Trevante Rhodes, Yvnonne Strahovski, and Jacob Tremblay. The Predator doesn’t stand a chance against that army.

Fox did have some good news for all you Hercule Poirot maniacs out there, at least. Thanks to the success of Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, his Death on the Nile sequel has received a cushy awards season spot of November 8, 2019. Those anticipating their overly complicated, dementedly groomed mustache cosplay should get cracking now.

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