Why the Delay of Jupiter Ascending is a Big Summer Bummer
If you’re looking for a science fiction or fantasy film in the cinemas this summer that isn’t already associated with a franchise, series, or pre-existing swirling pool of cultural knowledge, then you’re going to have to rely almost exclusively on indie films like The Signal, The Congress, I Origins, or Snowpiercer, most of which won’t get full national releases anyway. The blockbuster fantastic fare then—with the exception of techno-thriller Lucy—is exclusively sequels, remakes, and other tie-in thingamabobs. Even the fairly obscure Guardians of the Galaxy is connected to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. But there was one great hope for some sci-fi originality at the box office this summer: Jupiter Ascending. Emphasis on was.
Just six weeks before its release, Jupiter Ascending has been pulled and rescheduled for an opening in February of 2015. Completion of all of the film’s special effects is being cited as the primary reason for the delay, but some sources believe the movie wasn’t coalescing in a way that made the studio heads feel comfortable. To be fair, a movie like Jupiter Ascending faces less-stiff competition in the winter of 2015 than it does in any summer, but its absence from the this summer’s line-up means all other big sci-fi epics are exclusively the domain of pre-existing universes. In other words, safe bets.
And that’s too bad, because the Wachowski siblings are the same people who brought us The Matrix, and while their more recent films have been less-stellar than that classic offering, it’s still good for the culture to have a touch of originality. Further, since the last few Wachowski films have been adaptations (Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas) the fact that this was an original story (like The Matrix) is part of why it might have potential to be great. And even if it’s not great, an original flop might be better for everyone’s imaginations right now than a market-tested, derivative hit. There’s nothing wrong with big franchises giving us cool stories and exciting films, but without new stuff, there’s a danger of these genres stagnating.
Here’s hoping that when Jupiter Ascending does arrive in February, it proves itself worth the wait.