The staggering amount of money that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has made thanks to its December opening was always going to have implications and it seems Disney/Lucasfilm are now planning regular Christmas presents for Star Wars fans.Star Wars Episode VIII was original planned for release on the 26th of May 2017 in order to tie-in with the 40th anniversary of the original Star Wars. However the December opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has proved so successful that Disney/Lucasfilm want to replicate it with their upcoming movies.
December releases have proved very successful before with box office giants Titanic and Avatar also being released just before Christmas. The combination of little competition and the holiday season can certainly boost the box office and the fact that the other studios gave The Force Awakens such a wide berth undoubtedly helped as well. The Force Awakens is now the most successful film ever in the US and the third most successful film globally after Titanic and Avatar.
Disney/Lucasfilm already have stand alone films planned for this December and December 2018, so moving the release date of Episode VIII seems a logical decision. It would have been nice to watch a new Star Wars movie in celebration of the original film's 40th release but a pattern of December releases makes better business sense and it gives writer/directer Rian Johnson more time to finish the film.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens on the 16th of December this year and Star Wars Episode VIII will open on the 15th of December 2017.
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