Fox has pushed the release dates for X-Men: Dark Phoenix and Alita: Battle Angel, by four and two months respectively, to better cater to the interest from the Chinese market, according to a report. Dark Phoenix will now release on June 7, 2019 – that means Gambit is now moving to March 13, 2020, another delay for the much-delayed film – instead of February 14, 2019; and Alita: Battle Angel will open in theatres on the former's previous release date – February 14, 2019 – instead of December 21, 2018.
The American studio isn't leaving the Christmas period empty though: it will release a PG-13 version (the equivalent of U/A here in India) of Deadpool 2, hoping to cater to the family crowd during the US holidays. There's no word on whether Deadpool 2 will re-release in India, with Fox Star India telling Gadgets 360 in a statement that there were “no updates so far”.
This is the second delay for both Dark Phoenix and Alita: Battle Angel, but Deadline notes that the delay isn't for production reasons. Fox chose to push the former back after seeing the response to the first trailer – it reportedly garnered 44 million views in the first 24 hours in China – with a summer release date giving Dark Phoenix a better shot at a bigger opening in China.
That vacated the February 14 date, which is crucial as it's the Chinese New Year period. Alita: Battle Angel is now taking up that slot and it remains to be seen if its Japanese roots – it's based on a manga – will have any boost on its prospects. And though Christmas 2018 is already packed with two big releases in Aquaman and Bumblebee, Fox feels comfortable in slotting a new cut of Deadpool 2.
Alita: Battle Angel's new release date of February 14, 2019 puts it a week after The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and a week before How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. In India, it will go up against Zoya Akhtar-directed Gully Boy, starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, though it's fair to assume there wouldn't be much overlap.
The June 7, 2019 release date for Dark Phoenix, meanwhile, means it will open in the same week as Ali Abbas Zafar's Bharat, starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, and The Secret Life of Pets 2. It's also a week after Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and a week before Men in Black spin-off MIB. June 2019 also has the much-anticipated Toy Story 4.