While the theatrical business is gaining a little steam again, movie studios are still shuffling around release dates. The latest movie to get a new date is Lionsgate's The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, which was originally supposed to hit theaters in August. Now, the movie is coming two months sooner. The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard is a sequel to the 2017 action-comedy that paired Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, and also starred Salma Hayek.
The new movie will now hit theaters on June 16, more than two months earlier than the previous Aug. 20 release date. The decision came after Disney announced that 20th Century Studios' Free Guy would open on Aug. 13. Both Free Guy and The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard star Reynolds, so Lionsgate probably did not want to see its Reynolds movie compete against another one. The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard will now have to compete with Warner Bros.' In the Heights, which opens on June 11, and Universal's F9, which hits theaters on June 25. Focus Features is also releasing Edgar Wright's The Sparks Brothers documentary on June 18.
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"This is the kind of summer action film that delivers even more comedy and more thrilling action than the first film – and it's perfect for fans new to the franchise as well," Ron Schwartz, Lionsgate's president of worldwide distribution, said in a statement to Deadline Monday. "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard is what summer moviegoing is all about – great, crowd-pleasing entertainment."
The Hitman's Bodyguard starred Reynolds as Michael Bryce, a bodyguard and former CIA officer whose new client is hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson). The two have to work together to make sure Darius gets to the International Criminal Court on time to testify at the trial of a ruthless dictator (Gary Oldman). Hayek starred as Sonia, Darius's wife.
Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3) directed the movie, as well as its sequel. Aside from Reynolds, Hayek, and Jackson, the sequel co-star Frank Grillo, Morgan Freeman, Antonio Banderas, and Richard E. Grant. Although the original movie was met with a mixed response from critics, it was still a hit with audiences, grossing over $176 million worldwide. Both the original and sequel were produced by Millennium Media and distributed by Lionsgate.
The theatrical business took a bruising during the coronavirus pandemic, but with more theaters opening, recent releases have done better. This weekend's Godzilla vs. Kong is expected to be one of the biggest releases in the U.S. since the pandemic started, especially after the monster movie had a huge weekend worldwide. The movie grossed $121.8 million last weekend, the biggest worldwide debut of the pandemic. However, the movie will also be available on HBO Max in the U.S., which could cut into its theatrical total.