Jungle Book: Origins, the Andy Serkis-directed prequel to the classic Jungle Book tale, has been pushed from its 2016 release date into 2017.
While the film was set to premiere on October 21st, 2016, it will now debut almost a year later on October 6, 2017, The Hollywood Reporter notes. The film will reportedly still star Rohan Chand as Mowgli, Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan, and Christian Bale as Bagheera. On top of directing, Serkis will also star as Mowglis’ friend Baloo.
The delayed release date comes with a few reasons. The primary one, according to The Reporter, is to put more distance between Jungle Book: Origins and Disney’s own live-action Jungle Book film, which is opening on October 9, 2015. That film will be directed by Jon Favreau and will star Bill Murray, Scarlett Jonhansson, Ben Kinglsey, and Idris Elba. The other reason provided was that Warner Bros. never truly intended to premiere Jungle Book: Origins on that date, but merely wanted to stake a claim on the weekend. As the Reporter noted, the delay will also give Serkis more time to produce the film, which is heavy on special effects.
But Warner Bros. isn’t completely abandoning that October 21st slot. In Jungle Book: Origins' place will be Gerard Butler vehicle Geostorm, an environmental thriller directed by Dean Devlin.
Serkis, arguably the biggest motion-capture actor in Hollywood, played Caesar in this year’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. He has an unspecified parts in next year’s biggest blockbusters, Avenger: Age of Ultron and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.