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Why fans should be worried about the Monster Hunter movie

When Paul W.S. Anderson announced he was working on a Monster Hunter movie, audiences didn't quite know what to think. On one hand, he made the Resident Evil movies (which don't seem to understand the source material and suffer from characterization and plot whiplash), but on the other hand, he is making Monster Hunter. The series is about hunting giant creatures, carving up their bodies to create weapons and armor, and using those items to hunt even bigger monsters. This premise is difficult to botch, but as of today, execution might be the movie's least pressing problem.

Thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Monster Hunter movie's premiere was originally pushed back to April 23, 2021, but it was later moved up to Dec. 30, 2020. Now, IGN has confirmed that the movie has a new release date, this time Dec. 25. At first, this seems like a boon worthy of any hunter. The early wyvern gets the aptonoth, right? Not when facing two potentially bigger movies in a turf war.

As IGN pointed out, Dec. 25 also marks the release of Wonder Woman 1984, which will be available on HBO Max, and Pixar's Soul, which will air on Disney Plus. Meanwhile, Monster Hunter is aiming for a theatrical and IMAX launch. Not only is Monster Hunter squaring off with movies that may be way out of its weight class (and deliver broader appeal, given the popularity of the previous Wonder Woman movie and Pixar's vast library), but it is releasing publicly on the heels of a worsening COVID outbreak.

Even though the Monster Hunter trailers have teased all sorts of welcoming details, including popular monsters like the Gore Magala and fan-favorite weapons such as the Switch Axe, the odds against Anderson's take on Monster Hunter are bigger than ever. Despite some newfound popularity thanks to games like Monster Hunter World and the upcoming Monster Hunter Rise, Monster Hunter is still a niche franchise. And, since the movie is now releasing Dec. 25, it will have to fight off both a superhero film and a Pixar movie — two genres known for their broad appeal. Add in production companies asking audiences to brave movie theaters during a pandemic (and with many theaters currently closed), and you have a recipe for a potentially underperforming Paul W.S. Anderson flick.

Only time will tell if the Monster Hunter movie can overcome these Deviljho-sized obstacles.