Warner Bros. is making a couple of smart moves with some release date changes beginning with their 300 sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire, which was originally slated for an August 2 release this year, moving it to March 7, 2014. This places the film on the same weekend as Zack Snyder's first film, which was released back in 2007 and went on to surprise everyone, bringing in $456 million worldwide on a $65 million budget.
I haven't seen a budget number for the sequel, but I have to assume they kept it at or very near the budget of the original as it isn't exactly loaded with big name talent. Noam Murro directs the sequel based on a Frank Miller graphic novel, with a story that runs parallel to the story told in 300, this time Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. Themistokles faces the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemesia (Eva Green), vengeful commander of the Persian navy.
I expect we'll see a big deal made about 300: Rise of an Empire at this year's Comic Con, the same way everyone walked away from the 2006 Comic Con anxiously awaiting Snyder's original. The question is, can Warner Bros. drum up as much enthusiasm for a sequel now seven years removed from its original?
Previously slated to hit theaters on that March 7 date was the Tom Cruise sci-fi actioner All You Need is Kill directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) and co-starring Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton. Warner moved it to a June 6, 2014 date where it will square off against the Michael Bay-produced live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
All You Need is Kill finds Cruise playing Lt. Col. Bill Cage, an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously demoted and then dropped into combat. Cage is killed within minutes, managing to take an alpha alien down with him. But he awakens back at the beginning of the same day and is forced to fight and die again... and again - as physical contact with the alien has thrown him into a time loop.