In a definite shocker of a move, Film District has picked up the Gerard Butler-led Olympus Has Fallen and subsequently dated the project for April 5, 2013. The Antoine Fuqua-directed feature is one of two such offerings in development at the moment centered around a secret service agent tasked with protecting the White House. While this is definitely the lower profile of the two, it does have a pretty decent supporting cast (Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart) which is why this will obviously make some noise.
This scheduling is not exactly cushy by any means as it will do battle with second weekends of G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Andrew Niccol’s The Host. The presumption here might be that either Film District wants to get their money and run, or they believe the latest G.I. Joe film will be a washout–something that many have been speculating ever since its year-long delay. Jurassic Park 3D has a same day release (undoubtedly something Universal did not plan on when dating the return to Steven Spielberg’s class,) and the Tom Cruise-led sci-fi flick Oblivion debuts the week after.
The rival project releasing next June has disaster film godfather Roland Emmerich at the helm with a cast list containing Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx. Both will presumably be hot going into release thanks in part to Magic Mike and Django Unchained respectively. One could definitely see why the June date has been established, but this was initially moved from a November theatrical bow in part to avoid the head-to-head with its clone.
Such a match-up replicates a scenario this year where dual Snow White films crossed paths in the form of March’s Mirror, Mirror and June’s Snow White and the Huntsman. The tone was dramatically different for both offerings which allowed for each to succeed in their own right. It should be noted though that Universal admitted sometime after Huntsman’s theatrical run that the race to release first hurt the blockbuster’s overall quality.