The third film in the ‘Cloverfield’ franchise – a series of loosely connected, anthology-style sci-fi/horror films – is coming. It might even be coming soon. But you probably shouldn’t hold your breath. While the film – known alternately as ‘God Particle’ and ‘Cloverfield 3’ – is still expected to hit theaters this year, the project has been plagued by multiple delays and only the bare minimum has been officially announced. Indeed, until just a few hours ago, the film was still set for release on February 2nd, with this latest delay pushing it back to April. Despite the looming release, the studio has yet to so much as confirm the title. ‘Cloverfield 3’ is an obvious placeholder, while ‘God Particle’ is more akin to a working title, one apparently held over from its pre-‘Cloverfield’ life. For that matter, release even the barest scrap of footage from the film.
Suffice it to say that this is kind of weird.
It’s one thing to rely on word of mouth to help sell a film. It’s another thing entirely to have released nothing in the way of footage or promotional materials this close to the film’s supposed release date. Even J.J. Abrams’ noted penchant for secrecy (what he refers to as “the mystery box”) has never gone as far as (for all practical purposes) failing to promote the movie. Though recalling the lackadaisical approach the production and distribution partnership of Bad Robot Productions and Paramount Pictures took to their 2016 collaboration on ‘Star Trek Beyond’, maybe it’s not that strange…
That said, rather than puzzling over whether or not this is meant to be a particularly subversive bit of non-marketing or just more of Abrams’ self-indulgent mystery box nonsense, it might be better to ask whether or not this bizarre radio silence is indicative of trouble behind the scenes. With the film now pushed back from February to April 2018, this marks the third major delay the project has faced. ‘God Particle’ went before the cameras in the summer of 2016. At the time, it was slated for release on February 24, 2017, though it was eventually bumped to October 27. Supposedly, this was to allow more time for post-production work, including reshoots supervised by Abrams himself. Before too long, however, it was delayed once again, this time to February 2, 2018. And now, following months of radio silence from the studio, we have another delay, this time to the now-current April 20, 2018 date.
Don’t get me wrong, as a rule I’d rather see filmmakers allowed whatever time they need to make the best movie they can. But three significant delays on what was almost certainly a modestly budgeted project (based on prior ‘Cloverfield’ outings), with a release date now nearly two years after the start of filming? All this without so much as a teaser or anything resembling promotional imagery? While I hope for the best, I can’t escape the feeling that something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
So what do we know about ‘Cloverfield 3′? Like ’10 Cloverfield Lane’, the project began life as an unrelated project that was eventually brought under the ‘Cloverfield’ banner during development. The film follows a team of astronauts who find themselves stranded on a space station when Earth seemingly vanishes during a particle accelerator experiment. They are then forced to fight for their survival following the arrival of a space shuttle. That’s condensed a bit from the official synopsis, but not by much. It’s also about as much as anyone not involved with the production knows about the film.
‘God Particle’ is directed by Julius Onah and stars Daniel Bruhl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo, and Zhang Ziyi. The film is (supposedly) set for release on April 20, 2018.
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