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If you left “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” eagerly anticipating “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” you’re going to have to wait a little while longer. Disney has announced that the film has moved release dates from May 26, 2017 to December 15, 2017. In turn, fellow Disney franchise film “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” has moved up a few weeks into that May 26, 2017 slot. It was previously scheduled for July 7, 2017.
Disney’s press release cites the “extraordinary success of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens'” as the reason for the shift, and it’s hard to quibble at this point with the “Star Wars in December” formula. “The Force Awakens” opened last month on Dec. 18, and has already become the highest-grossing domestic release of all time, along with breaking just about every opening weekend record. Every previous Star Wars film opened in May.
“Star Wars: Episode VIII” will be written and directed by Rian Johnson, and is scheduled to start shooting next month in London. Joachim Rønning will direct “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” which features the return of Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush and Orlando Bloom, plus Javier Bardem as a new villain, Captain Salazar.