Warner Bros. is apparently very bullish on its new Vacation movie. The studio has opted to move up the film’s release date from October 9th to July 31st, not only putting the comedy in the heat of the summer, but also squaring it off directly against Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. It’s a smart piece of counter-programming that WB hopes will draw audiences into the comedy redo, which is essentially a sequel to National Lampoon’s Vacation.
The film marks the directorial debut of scribes John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (Horrible Bosses, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2) and stars Ed Helms as a grown up Rusty Griswold, who opts to take his own family on a vacation that goes horribly, horribly wrong. Christina Applegate plays Rusty’s wife, Leslie Mann is his sister Audrey, and Chris Hemsworth plays Audrey’s up-and-coming anchorman husband, marking the Thor actor’s first big foray into comedy. Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo also make cameos reprising their roles as the elder Griswolds.
This is a sign of confidence from a studio that hesitated a bit when it came time to produce Vacation. The film was on track to begin production in 2013, but New Line and Daley & Goldstein came to an impasse over the rating—the filmmakers wanted R, but the studio wanted PG-13. The original Vacation was R but its sequels were PG-13, and no doubt New Line was keen on reaching a wider audience. It’s unclear what the final decision was, but any trepidation is moot now—Warner Bros. appears to have gotten a look at the film and now believes it has the goods to go up against Tom Cruise’s blockbuster.
Mission: Impossible isn’t the only other film scheduled for release on July 31st, however. The Jake Gyllenhaal fronted boxing drama Southpaw and the thriller The Gift, starring Jason Bateman and directed by Joel Edgerton, are also slated for release that weekend. Vacation adds some levity to the mix, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Daley and Goldstein have put together.