Disney has announced that it will be pushing back the release of Episode VIII of Star Wars to December 2017, seven months later than the original intended release date.

Though the company did not cite a specific reason for the delayed release date, the Hollywood Reporter says that Disney insiders have decided to make the change because of the bumper box office figures recently enjoyed by The Force Awakens over the festive period.

John BoyegaJohn Boyega in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

Instead of the original plan for a Memorial Day Weekend release of May 26th in 2017, Episode VIII will now be released on December 15th of the same year. To make up for the hole in the schedule, Disney has moved pushed ahead the fifth instalment of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales from its original July 7th spot.

Obviously, it also gives Episode VIII’s director, Rian Johnson (Looper), and the studio more time to work on the highly anticipated film. It also alleviates a lot of summer schedule pressure for Disney, as it was due to release Star Wars, Pirates…, Cars 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 all in the same four month period.

More: J.J. Abrams might be regretting not signing up to direct ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’

However, the news of the release date change won’t go down well with those who intended to release movies at the same time, or immediately after the new date. These include Steven Spielberg, who will be releasing Ready Player One, plus the studios behind The Croods 2 and The Six-Million Dollar Man.

The plan for the upcoming spin-off, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, has not been altered by Disney, and it’ll be coming out on December 16th, 2016 as expected.

Directed by JJ Abrams, The Force Awakens has now taken more than $1.8 billion worldwide, and has broken box office records in both North America and Britain. It still has a way to go before it chases down Titanic and Avatar, both of which topped $2 billion by the time they were done.

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