Disney Gives 'The Muppets 2,' Brad Bird's '1952' Release Dates, Moves 'Maleficent'

Lucas Shaw
The Wrap

"The Muppets 2" will open in theaters March of 2014, "Maleficent," a reimagined "Sleeping Beauty" tale starring Angelina Jolie moves to July of the same year and Brad Bird's "1952" will open before Christmas of 2014, Disney announced on Monday.

The news was part of an omnibus announcement, as Disney also announced "Pirates of the Caribbean 5" will open July 10, 2015 and that its 3D re-release of "Little Mermaid" has been called off. It was set to open September 13.

Speaking of 3D, the studio revaled that Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" will be released in 3D, though both release dates remain unchanged.

In debuting March 21, "The Muppets" will open the same weekend as "Divergent," Summit's adaptation of the young adult novel starring Shailene Woodley. Summit is hoping that movie will be the first in a trilogy, another young adult franchise to add to "Twilight" and parent company Lionsgate's "The Hunger Games."

The 2011 "Muppets" reboot earned a sequel after grossing $158 million at the worldwide box office, giving producers Todd Liberman and David Hoberman a second crack at the iconic characters. James Bobin, who directed that movie, is directing the sequel from a script he wrote with Nick Stoller. Stoller wrote the first film with Jason Segel, who will not reprise his role in this film.

The human cast currently includes Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell, with reports that Tina Fey may also join.

"Maleficent" had been schedule to open March 14, the week before "Muppets" and "Divergent," so to prevent its own movies from cannibalizing one another Disney moved "Maleficent" to July 2. The film retells the "Sleeping Beauty" story, told from the perspective of the eponymous villain.

Jolie stars as the "Mistress of All Evil," part of a cast that also includes Juno Temple and Elle Fanning.

More to come...

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