20th Century Fox is reshuffling release dates again. Dark Phoenix has been delayed for the second time, moving from February 14, 2019, to June 7 of the same year. Gambit is now set for March 13, 2020.

Before either of those projects hit theaters, Fox will release a PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2 on December 21, 2018 (the same day Warner Bros. releases Aquaman).

The latest delay for Dark Phoenix isn’t much of a surprise given that the film has been undergoing reshoots all month. It’s possible all the new footage just can’t be finished in time for February (the film was originally slated for a November 2, 2018 release).

Dark Phoenix moving to June gives it a prime summer release date, but it also makes the movie vulnerable. This gives Disney another four months to complete the Fox deal (which the studio told investors would happen in six to twelve months from June 20, 2018).

Should Disney have control of Fox in time, the former will have the option to continue on with the plan of releasing Dark Phoenix in theaters, opting for a day-and-date digital release (perhaps on Hulu, or saving it for Disney’s streaming service), or shelving the film entirely.

Sure, it sounds like a crackpot conspiracy theory, but back in March and again in August, I outlined the reasons why Disney, if they have control in time, may do the unthinkable and avoid releasing Dark Phoenix in theaters.

Gambit has no director and we’ll only worry about that one if it actually starts production before the Disney-Fox deal closes. Short of that, the movie won’t happen.

The PG-13 release of Deadpool 2 is interesting. Fox could have chosen any date to release a PG-13 cut that no one asked for and yet they chose the same day as Aquaman from Warner Bros. and DC Films.

Clearly, Fox has no fear of Arthur Curry and conspiracy theorists (*raises hand*) are sure to wonder if this isn’t a coordinated shot by Disney and Fox at their biggest superhero movie competitor.

This also feels like a potential test run for Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool in the PG-13 space where Marvel Studios thrives. Despite being known for its R-rated edge, there’s really no reason the Deadpool franchise can’t work with a PG-13 rating. At the very least, the character can still work in PG-13 films for other superhero franchises, like Avengers or X-Men.

SOURCE: Deadline