Fox has scheduled Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile movie adaptation for a theatrical release starting November 8, 2019, while at the same time shifting the release dates back for Shane Black’s sequel/reboot The Predator and Robert Rodriguez’s live-action anime/manga adaptation Alita Battle Angel. The latter two films were previously slated to hit theaters this summer in August and July, respectively, but will now be arriving in mid-September and the middle of December instead.
Death on the Nile is based on Agatha Christie’s novel of the same name and will arrive almost exactly two years after Branagh’s previous Christie adaptation, Murder on the Orient Express. Branagh will reprise his Murder role as world famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in Death on the Nile, which follows the master sleuth on a seemingly harmless trip aboard a steamer traveling down the Nile River when (you guessed it) one of the guests onboard turns up dead under mysterious circumstances. Murder on the Orient Express screenwriter Michael Green is also handling the script for Death on the Nile, with Branagh juggling directing and headlining responsibilities yet again.
Branagh is about to start principal photography on Disney’s Artemis Fowl adaptation for an August 2019 theatrical release, meaning he will set to work on Death on the Nile shortly after that project wraps production. Much like Murder on the Orient Express served as counter-programming to Thor: Ragnarok when they opened a week apart last November, Death on the Nile will provide a change of pace for moviegoers when it hits the scene one week after Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 2 in 2019.
Elsewhere, The Predator is now set to hit theaters on September 14 this year, rather than August 3. The project, which is a relaunch of the Predator sci-fi/action/horror franchise, has been delayed before, but this particular release date change appears to be strategic in nature and not a sign of post-production trouble. Whereas The Predator would have been forced to compete with fellow R-rated action franchise movie The Equalizer 2 on its former August release date, the competition is lighter on its new September date. Fox previously had the young adult sci-fi novel adaptation The Darkest Minds arriving mid-September this year, but that film is clearly being moved to an as-yet unspecified new date.
Alita is undergoing a more dramatic delay by comparison, from July 20 to December 21 this year. Fox has been holding onto that mid-December slot for awhile, having once kept it open as the possible launch date for Alita producer James Cameron’s sequel Avatar 2 (which will arrive in 2020 instead). The expensive Alita adaptation is now set to square off with Transformers spinoff Bumblebee and DC superhero movie Aquaman during its opening weekend. It’s possible Fox’s hope here is that Alita will have longer legs over the winter holiday season than it would have had mid-summer, even in the face of some intimidating competition at the box office.