The release date for “Star Wars: Episode VIII” has been moved from May 26, 2017, to December 15, 2017, as Collider reports. There is only one reason for moving the release date of “Episode VIII,” marketing.
The original release date for “Episode VIII” was only five months away from the release of “Star Wars: Rouge One.” Disney cannot start the marketing campaign for “Episode VIII” until “Rouge One” is released. If the two marketing campaigns for both the “Star Wars” movies overlap Disney risks confusing the audience as to which movie is coming out when. After the release of “Rouge One” Disney only five months to mount a campaign. With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Disney was able to mount a huge marketing campaign that started with the teaser that was released the Thanksgiving before the release of “The Force Awakens.”
However, “The Force Awakens” heralded the return of “Star Wars” to the zeitgeist, something that it has in common with “The Phantom Menace.” “Episode VIII” is just another “Star Wars” movie. Disney has no reason to move the release of the film back, except not overlapping the marketing for both of their forthcoming “Star Wars” movies.
Collider also reports that Fox has moved “Avatar 2” off its December 2017 date. Given the box office home run struck by “The Force Awakens,” the move of the “Avatar” sequel is likely due to “Episode VIII” moving from May to December. The “Avatar” move makes sense because of the success of “The Force Awakens” Fox did not want to compete with “Episode VIII.”
I do not love the release date of “Episode VIII,” but then again I am taking the overly cynical view of the move.