Paramount and DreamWorks took the unusual step today of announcing a release date for a movie that had yet to be greenlit. The studios claimed July 1, 2011 as the release date for Transformers 3.
Paramount insiders told Variety that they wanted to lock down the July 4th weekend for a third film before another studio claimed the date. But, it’s not an official announcement that Transformers 3 is a go. A writer for the third film has not been hired, and it’s unknown whether director Michael Bay or stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox would return for the third instalment .
Transformers 3 might also face a bit of difficulty lining up financing. Paramount managed to shoehorn Transformers 2 into its already completed Melrose II slate deal, but the studio currently has no follow-up long-term co-financing deal that they could use to help cover the costs of a third film. And since General Motors, which has been involved with Transformers and its sequel, might back out of marketing Transformers 2, we doubt they’ll be onboard for a third film unless the company’s financial condition improves dramatically.
Paramount also moved up the release date of Marvel’s Thor from June 16, 2011 to May 20, 2011. Considering that Marvel just announced Thor‘s release date last week and scooped Sony by announcing a release date for Spider-Man 4 at the same time, Paramount’s move raises the question: Who sets the release dates for these Marvel productions: Marvel or the distributor?
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