As we’ve seen over the past few years, the pandemic disrupted the rollout for dozens of titles. By now, however, most of those COVID-delayed films have already arrived in theaters—at least those worthy of a theatrical release. DISTANT, shot during the pre-vaccine days of the pandemic, has had one of the more unusual roads to release. And quite frankly, we’re still not entirely convinced Universal will release the film on its current January 19th date.
That’s because DISTANT has bounced around the release schedule numerous times. It was initially given a March 2022 date. That was scrapped, and the film got pushed to September 2022. It moved again to January 2023 before being pulled off the calendar entirely. It was eventually rescheduled for its current January 19th perch, nearly two years after its initial release date.
This film is so dusty that co-directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck have already shot and released another film, LYLE, LYLE, CROCODILE, since wrapping DISTANT. And it’s not like Gordon and Speck are unknowns. They have released a number of successful films aside from LYLE, including comedy hits BLADES OF GLORY and OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY.
It’s hard to say why Universal has been holding this one. It could be that the filmmaker’s foray into sci-fi just didn’t work (it’s set on an alien planet). What we do know is that the film has been added and removed from The Quorum before. Now that it is three months away from release, it has been re-added even though there is no poster (the only image we have is the white type against a black background featured on Amblin’s website), no trailer, and mostly radio silence from Universal.