Why James Cameron's Sci-Fi Anime 'Alita: Battle Angel' is On Hold

20th Century Fox

Alita isn’t well-known to most moviegoers, but the anime cyborg is going head-to-head against Sherlock Holmes, Bumblebee, and Aquaman. The theatrical release of the sci-fi film Alita: Battle Angel has been pushed from its original July weekend release to December 21.

On Tuesday, 20th Century Fox formally rescheduled Alita: Battle Angel, an ambitious sci-fi film directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron, to December 21. The scheduling move puts the film in direct competition against other big movies opening that weekend, including Aquaman, the Transformers spin-off Bumblebee, and the Will Ferrell/John C. Reily comedy Holmes & Watson.

Fox has also rescheduled The Predator, directed by Shane Black (Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang). Originally scheduled to hit theaters August 3, The Predator, starring Olivia Munn, Boyd Holbrook, Keegan-Michael Key, and Yvonne Strahovski will now be released on September 14. Compared to Alita, it’s a very minor change to Fox’s release schedule.

If the title Alita: Battle Angel hasn’t rung a bell yet, it’s the trailer you saw before The Last Jedi with the CGI girl who had those huge anime eyes. Indeed, the film has quite the reputation for its curious production design, relying on a heavy mix of uncanny valley CGI and live-action actors.

The manga 'Battle Angel Alita' was adapted into a limited anime series, released exclusively on video, in 1993 called 'Battle Angel.'

ADV Films

Based on the nine-volume manga Battle Angel Alita (titled Gunnm in its native Japan) by Yukito Kishiro, the film takes place in a dystopian future divided by an extreme wealth gap. Alita (played by Rosa Salazar) is a discarded android taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), who resurrects her without her memories. Befriending a street rat named Hugo (Keenan Johnson), Alita’s memories slowly return as she discovers her lost history as a lethal bounty hunter.

Despite its little-known reputation in the United States, the original manga was a favorite of filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who presented it to Cameron and was intrigued by the premise. Cameron spent the next decade trying to get the project off the ground, before landing a deal with 20th Century Fox in 2016.

Alita: Battle Angel will now be released on December 21.