The real reason Kraven The Hunter was delayed by Sony

Kraven the Hunter will no longer release in the summer due to its move to December, and there is a good reason for that.
Kraven the Hunter. Courtesy of Sony Pictures. ©2023 CTMG. All Rights Reserved. MARVEL and all related character names: © & ™ 2023 MARVEL
Kraven the Hunter. Courtesy of Sony Pictures. ©2023 CTMG. All Rights Reserved. MARVEL and all related character names: © & ™ 2023 MARVEL /

Sony Pictures' Universe of Marvel Characters has had a bit of a bumpy ride. It's led by Venom, and that franchise in and of itself is incredibly lucrative, with both of the Tom Hardy films grossing over $800 million at the box office amid positive audience responses (even in spite of negative reviews from critics). Anything outside of that, however, has stumbled.

Look no further than this year's Madame Web, which arrived in movie theaters in March. It was a familiar story at that point, with highly negative reviews and a poor box office performance overshadowing that release - much like we saw with Morbius two years earlier. (Although Madame Web has become a bit of a Netflix sensation since its arrival on the streamer).

Kraven The Hunter seems like the outlier, with a promising first trailer suggesting that it could enjoy more success. But it's had it's own eyebrow-raising moments in recent memory, particularly the delays it has faced; more specifically, the most recent of them all, which saw it move from its planned August release date all the way to December. It turns out, though, that there might be a method to this madness.

Kraven the Hunter was moved to avoid competition with other R rated movies

The decision to move Kraven the Hunter from summer to December was due to the fact that it would likely face less competition from other R rated titles during the holidays. In an interview with Collider, producer Matt Tolmach called the move "a great move" as it "reflects just the feeling about the movie".

As for why Christmastime was chosen, it might actually be because it's the most wonderful time of the year (for movies to release). Tolmach spoke about this, discussing how it can often lead to people who are off during the holidays to return to see movies more than once:

" Kraven moved to Christmas because we're excited about it and Christmas is the best release period there is, when you get people with time to go back to the movies over and over again. That was a real reflection of how the studio felt about the movie. We're really excited. "

Matt Tolmach

While the delay might be frustrating to fans looking forward to the movie, it's probably a wise business move. The truth is that the summer is stacked with blockbusters and must-see movies, including Marvel Studios' highly-anticipated superhero movie Deadpool and Wolverine and the long-awaited remake of The Crow (the first of those is released a month before Kraven's previous August release date, and the latter comes out a week before it). Both of those movies are R rated, too, meaning that Kraven the Hunter would have been directly competing with them for the young adult- adult audiences if it had stuck to that date. And that's not something it should have been doing, especially as one of them is a Marvel Studios movie.

Considering there is some positive hype around the movie, it would have been unwise to plant it in the middle of the summer when it could have easily gotten lost among the countless big movies released during those months. Releasing it towards the end of the year - during what is a quieter time of year for R rated movies - makes sense.

It also sounds like Sony is still extremely excited about the film, which is pretty heartening in all honesty. After the response to Madame Web and the impending end of the Venom franchise, it would be easy for fans' of Sony's Spider-Verse movies to feel a bit worried about the future of the saga, but Kraven could be the one to turn it around if the critics respond well.

Kraven the Hunter stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the titular Spider-Man villain in an origin story about how he, real name Sergei Kravenoff, came to be the revered - and feared - warrior that he is. It joins the growing list of mature superhero projects, with its first red-band trailer shocking fans around the world. The response was mostly positive, with the hopes that the franchise can finally get a live-action hit outside of Venom. Here's hoping that the new December release date can help it do just that.

Kraven the Hunter arrives in movie theaters on December 13, 2024.

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