Just a few days ago at Comic-Con, the video-game-turned-movie Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was being talked up as a June 2009 release. Note the date on the promotional poster which, without a picture of princely star Jake Gyllenhaal, might as well be an ad for a Pier 1 sale. Variety is now reporting that Walt Disney Pictures has pushed back the release date nearly a full year to Memorial Day weekend 2010. Hey, maybe next year at the con Disney will hand out little "10"s you can stick to the posters they gave you this year!
What's the hold-up? The article cites Disney's official reason for the delay as "wanting to allow plenty of time for post-production considering that the tentpole will require extensive special effects to create its fantasy world and setpieces." Except Disney's been in "the biz" for a while now, so underestimating post-production needs by a year at this stage of things seems odd. There's also speculation that the Mouse is trying to avoid a box office battle with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which opens a week following what would have been Prince's debut. Except in switching its opening to the Memorial Day weekend of the following year, Disney will be sandwiching the movie between the next Shrek flick and Marvel Studios' Thor. Competing with either the big green ogre or the Viking god with an affinity for hammers and winged hats seems doable, but both? It doesn't really seem like an easier fight, so what gives?
Maybe it's that "looming strike" business that seems to be putting a crimp in so many projects lately. Maybe they heard the news about a Rocky Horror Picture Show remake and suddenly felt too tired and sad to continue making movies. Or maybe producer Jerry Bruckheimer is dithering between trying to make Gyllenhaal seem more "Persian," as some fans want, or more like the original prince: Blond, and composed entirely of large, jagged squares.