Yet another of the leftover 20th Century Fox productions that were developed before Disney absorbed the company is getting moved again from its release date.
The King’s Man, the prequel to 2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and 2017’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle, has been removed from its fast-approaching September 18, 2020 arrival and repurposed to February 26, 2021. No huge surprise there, as marketing for the movie had been largely non-existent up until now.
This is also the third time that the film has been bumped: originally slated to open back on November 15, 2019, it was first shifted to February 14 of this year and then the September date.
According to Deadline, the Mouse House made the move to position The King’s Man for a better theatrical release that will, if the pandemic has subsided enough by early next year, be able to include major markets that remain closed to movie screenings for now, including New York and Los Angeles.
Exhibitors may not be so happy about the change, since many screens around the country are reopening and looking for new product to fill them. Disney has already moved Mulan out of theaters entirely and into a premiere berth on the Disney+ streaming service over Labor Day weekend.
If the third entry in the Kingsman series is as violent, raunchy and worthy of an R rating as the previous two, the ghost of Winston Churchill himself would not be able to get it placed on Disney’s more family-friendly streaming service. A premiere on the Disney-owned but more adult-oriented Hulu would be likelier, whether The King’s Man ultimately gets into theaters or not.
Once again directed by Matthew Vaughn, The King’s Man stars Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Bruhl, Stanley Tucci, Gemma Arterton, Matthew Goode, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Djimon Hounsou. The plot is officially described this way: “As a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds gather to plot a war to wipe out millions, one man and his protégé must race against time to stop them.”
Notably missing from the cast this time around are Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Channing Tatum and everyone else who showed up in the first two movies.
Even if you take the pandemic and the resultant chaos out of it, the question remains: who was asking for a Kingsman prequel? It’s true that the first two films — which were based on the Mark Millar graphic novels and lightly satirize the spy genre — racked up a healthy $825 million in total worldwide box office (against a combined, rather reasonable budget of around $200 million for both), but a large part of the first two films’ success was the chemistry between Firth’s Harry Hart and Egerton’s Eggsy Unwin.
Disney, meanwhile, has two movies opening in theaters this weekend: The New Mutants, which was not screened for the press, and (via its Searchlight arthouse arm), The Personal History of David Copperfield, which was.