‘Wicked’ Moves Up Release Date, Will No Longer Open Against ‘Moana 2’

Wicked,” Universal’s film adaptation of the hit Broadway show, is landing in theaters on Nov. 22 — five days ahead of schedule.

It was originally supposed to open on Nov. 27, the same day as Disney’s “Moana 2.” On its new release date, “Wicked” is smartly avoiding a box office battle royale against another movie musical that appeals to a similarly female demographic. Now, “Wicked” will get a jump on the Thanksgiving holiday but it won’t be completely devoid of competition. The film is set to debut on the same day as Paramount and Ridley Scott’s historical epic “Gladiator II,” though there’s presumably much less overlap in the audience and thus, a threat of cannibalization.

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This is the second major date shift for “Wicked: Part One,” which was initially on the calendar for Dec. 25. But Universal moved the film to Thanksgiving to dodge Christmas releases like Disney’s “Mufasa: The Lion King” and “Sonic the Hedgehog 3.”

Jon M. Chu, the filmmaker of “Crazy Rich Asians” and “In the Heights,” is directing the two-part “Wicked” adaptation. The second installment is scheduled for a year later on Nov. 26, 2025.

A prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” “Wicked” is adapted from the long-running Broadway show that features classics like “Defying Gravity” and “Popular.” Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande are starring in the film as Elphaba (a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good), who form an unlikely friendship that is torn apart by external forces. The cast also includes Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero, Michelle Yeoh as Shiz University headmaster Madame Morrible, Ethan Slater as Boq and Bowen Yang as Pfannee.

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