First thing first. It didn't send a great message late Tuesday when Warner Bros. unexpectedly said it was moving "Jupiter Ascending," the Wachoswkis' return to live-action summer filmmaking, out of, well, the summer. The
Warners executive Dan Fellman told my colleague Amy Kaufman that it was technical effects work, not any larger creative rejiggering or marketing rethink, that was prompting the delay.
Whether that's a primary or sole factor is hard to say (certainly the reaction to early material hasn't been great). But for all the initial signals it sent, the move may not turn out to be that bad. That's not because the film is officially out of a more crowded time (that rationale has always seemed a little weak to me, since yes, there's more competition in the summer, but more people are going to movies) but because the general idea of taking an extra beat to release a film, whatever the reason, has actually worked out pretty well in recent years.
It used to be that the very act of delaying a film, particularly out of a high-traffic time, was correlated with failure — either because it in fact reflected a bad movie or because the perception alone would make theater owners and moviegoers suspicious, in turn torpedoing the film's chances.
But the gambit has worked a large number of times in recent years. Fellman cited "World War Z" and