Sci-Fi Fans Will Have to Wait for Wachowskis’ ‘Jupiter Ascending’

The Wachowski siblings’ upcoming sci-fi epic Jupiter Ascending has been abruptly pushed back from its planned July 18 release date all the way to February 6, 2015. According to insiders cited by The Hollywood Reporter, the movie could not be released on time due to the need for more special effects work.

Jupiter Ascending stars Mila Kunis as a down-on-her-luck woman named Jupiter Jones who lives in Chicago cleaning houses for a living when she’s sought out by Caine, an intergalactic warrior played by Channing Tatum who reveals her true genetic fate as the rightful inheritor of Earth. Of course, there are some bad guys looking to make sure Jupiter can’t make her rightful claim to the planet.

The Hollywood Reporter said that another reason for pushing the movie back could be Warner Bros.’ prospects for having a pretty rough summer. The comedy Blended was released over Memorial Day weekend to some truly heinous reviews, and the upcoming Tom Cruise vehicle Edge of Tomorrow, also a science fiction movie, doesn’t look like it will perform as well as the studio had hoped.

Jupiter Ascending sees the Wachowskis returning to writing their own screenplays for the first time since The Matrix trilogy, and thus has been a highly anticipated film for fans of serious science fiction.

Warner Bros. domestic distribution chief Dan Fellman spoke to Variety about the decision, saying that, “With the July release date, they were just not going to make it on time. A lot of the issue for us was getting it ready for the international release, since the foreign territories need additional time.”

While in the past, February has traditionally been a dead zone at the box office, Warner Bros. is choosing to release Jupiter Ascending on the same weekend that the studio released The Lego Movie this year. The Lego Movie proved a hit with both kids and adults, and grossed over $460 million worldwide. The year’s highest grossing film to date, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, made over $709 worldwide and was released during the early spring, another time of year not typically associated with being good for box office performance.

Warner Bros. is betting that Jupiter Ascending can be another high-performance movie during a typical dry season, otherwise the studio wouldn’t run the risk of moving a film with a $150 million budget to such a slot. The Hollywood Reporter pointed out that other high-profile films that have been pushed back by months have managed to perform well, with the only downside being studios can’t get back the money they’ve spent on marketing the film too early. G.I. Joe: Retaliation and World War Z are two movies that were pushed back at the last minute and still managed to do well at the box office.

Jupiter Ascending has elements to draw the right mix of both critical and popular interest, so will likely still do well in theaters. Fans of the Wachowskis will just have to wait until next year to see the new movie from the sci-fi masters.

More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet:

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS