The action saga “Kingsman: The Secret Service” will take on “Fifty Shades of Grey” at the Valentine’s Day weekend box office next February, Fox said Wednesday.
The spy tale, based on the comic book “The Secret Service” by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar, had been set to debut this fall on Oct. 24. That is a very crowded date, with Universal’s “Ouija,” A24’s “Laggies,” the Weinstein Company’s Bill Murray comedy “St. Vincent” and Paramount’s “Paranormal Activity 5” all set for that weekend.
The shift of the Matthew Vaughn-directed “Kingsman” is a bold play, given the heat surrounding “Fifty Shades.” It positions the film, which stars Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Caine, as counter-programming to the sexy adaptation, which should play most strongly with women.
The strategy has worked for Fox before — Bruce Willis‘ “A Good Day to Die Hard” opened solidly on that date last year — and male-skewing films like “Hannibal” and “Ghost Rider” are among the biggest Valentine’s weekend openers ever.
At the same time, the studio has shifted “Poltergeist,” which had been in that Valentine’s slot, to July 24, 2015. That will make it the first horror movie of next summer. The season has proven a powerful launch pad for the genre recently, with “The Purge” and “The Conjuring” breaking out in June and July of last year, respectively.
“Poltergeist” is a reboot of the 1980s franchise; the original was co-written by Steven Spielberg. Gil Kenan directs the update, which stars Sam Rockwell, Jared Harris and Rosemarie DeWitt. David Lindsay-Abaire wrote the script.