Release Dates For The Lone Ranger, The Killer Elite, And Looper

To start things off, let’s talk The Lone Ranger. Proof that tentpole titles need not be released only in summer, Disney is making The Lone Ranger its big holiday release of 2012. Set to open the day the Mayan calendar ends, December 21, 2012, the film is directed by Gore Verbinski and stars Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as the title character, while Johnny Depp plays his sidekick, Tonto.

With the announcement, December 2012 could be one of the most profitable in Hollywood’s history, as the competition will be fierce. In addition to Disney unspooling Ranger, Warner Bros. has The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arriving on December 14th, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi and Hunter-Killer opening December 21st, and you have other TBD release dates for Superman: The Man of Steel and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.

Up next we have The Killer Elite, which stars Jason Statham, Robert De Niro and Clive Owen, will hit theaters on September 23rd by distributors Open Road, a group headed up by two theater chains, AMC and Regal. It’s more of Statham being his usual self, only this time it is him leading a group of skilled special-ops guys (not to be confused with “The Expendables”) in rescuing former mentor Robert De Niro. Clive Owen plays the baddie and he has his own sinister team called “The Feather Men.” (So expect a lot of pillow fights.) The Killer Elite will open the same weekend as the Taylor Lautner-starring vehicle Abduction (where there is no abduction), Moneyball (which is just the sport of baseball from the perspective of number-crunching whiz), and Dolphin Tale 3D.

The filmmaker behind Brick, Rian Johnson, may not have gotten the boost he wanted with The Brothers Bloom, starring Oscar winners and nominees Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel Weisz, but his upcoming sci-fi thriller Looper could be that movie. With a stellar cast list that includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels, the film is currently in post-production but don’t expect it as a late 2011 arrival. Instead, it will arrive next September (September 28th, to be precise). Such a long way off, but FilmDistrict, who has scored a pair of hits already this year with Insidious and Soul Surfer, and theatrical distributor TriStar see the potential in arriving after The Dark Knight Rises (which also features Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Just my own speculation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if FilmDistrict cuts a teaser to show in front of Rises just to start a buzz.

Finally, there’s George Clooney’s Ides of March, which moves up a week from its original October 14th release, to go up against Disney’s Real Steel starring Hugh Jackman and the Paul Rudd/Jennifer Aniston comedy Wanderlust. By moving up, the film resists opening up against the likes of Footloose and The Thing. And if timed just right, the film could catch fire, especially if Crazy, Stupid, Love becomes one of the sleepers of the summer. Both star Ryan Gosling and The Ides of March might use CSL‘s potential success as a way to help market this film. And knowing that the film also features Clooney, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Marissa Tomei might have audiences thinking the word “Oscar” early in October.

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