Mila, Channing and the February woodshed
Late yesterday Warner Brothers announced that the Wachowski siblings’ new movie starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, Jupiter Ascending (aka Jackie and Potatohead Do Space), has been kicked from its sweet July 18 opening to February 6, 2015. It’s not surprising. When the tracking data was released for July movies it rated a dismal $18-22 million projection, against an estimated $150 million budget, which is probably a lot closer to $200 million in reality. Indeed, Deadline says the delay is because the Wachowskis need more time for the elaborate VFX, which means more money is going down the drain. Plus they’ve just wasted money marketing a movie they’re no longer releasing this fiscal year.
Could Jupiter Ascending need more time in post-production? Sure. But January and February are the graveyard months, where bad movies are sent to die. You do not release movies you’re confident in during January or February. But what about The LEGO Movie, you say? Yes, it was kind of brilliant, and it was a monster hit. But Warner Brothers wasn’t confident in it. February was a hedge against potential catastrophe, in case people didn’t give it a chance or see it as anything other than a ninety-minute commercial. You can bet the sequel won’t be released in February.
It’s never good when your movie gets moved to February, but for Tatum, at least, it’s not the end of the world. He still has 22 Jump Street coming out in a few weeks, and early reviews are really good. It’s up against tough competition in How to Train Your Dragon 2—which is CRAZY GOOD—but it will undoubtedly perform well for an R-rated comedy and Potatohead will get another win candle on his victory cake.
It’s a different story for Mila Kunis, though. Now she has no major release this year. It seemed like after Black Swan maybe her career was kicking up a notch, but she really hasn’t gone anywhere or done anything of note since then, and that was four years ago. Friends with Benefits made a little money but she didn’t capitalize on the momentum, then Oz The Great and Powerful disappointed and her more serious indie efforts have not made any impression at all. Now she only has a February opening to look forward to—she might not even be in next summer’s Ted 2. Maybe acting isn’t the priority anymore since she’s spawning. I hope that’s the case—I hope she’s just distracted and not putting in real effort. Because if this is all she’s getting after legit hustling, we might need to do a Career Prospectus on Mila Kunis.