It would seem that the X-Men franchise’s Gambit movie is finally coming together. Late last week brought the news that Gore Verbinski has been in discussions about directing the feature, and now 20th Century Fox is confident enough to lock the comic book feature in for a February 14, 2019 release date.
When I spoke with producer Simon Kinberg earlier this year just prior to the theatrical release of Logan, he told me that star Channing Tatum was still “incredibly committed” to Gambit and that production was eyeing an early 2018 start. It looks like that will be exactly what happens in the future development of the project, given the release date news that was just dropped by Deadline.
The hitch that comes with this news is that we’re not entirely sure we can trust it. After all, this isn’t the first time that Gambit has had a release date, as it was originally supposed to come out on October 7, 2016. This target was ultimately missed because the film had the hardest time trying to keep a director on board. First Bennett Miller, Darren Aronofsky, Gareth Evans and J. C. Chandor all turned down the chance to helm. Then Rupert Wyatt officially signed on (in June 2015), but he wound up departing a few months later (September 2015). Doug Liman came aboard to replace him weeks after that (November 2015), but then he left the next summer (August 2016). The project has existed in limbo ever since.
To Gambit‘s credit, things do seem to finally be coming together. Gore Verbinski is a seasoned blockbuster filmmaker, and, according to Channing Tatum, the studio’s development strategy has significantly changed thanks to the successes of Deadpool and Logan (implying the movie could be R-rated). There is a story to tell, with a narrative reportedly charting the mutant’s origins in New Orleans, and history with the villainous Mister Sinister, so it might actually all work out.
As for the release date itself, it’s noteworthy that Fox has had some luck with Valentines Day. The studio made the interesting choice to also make that the launching weekend for Deadpool last year, and while the film did face some apparent competition in Zoolander 2, it wound up becoming one of the biggest R-rated blockbusters of all time. Surely Fox is hoping that Gambit can follow suit in 2019, with the only current competition being the comedy Isn’t It Romantic starring Rebel Wilson.