Warner Bros. Pictures announced that Sherlock Holmes 2, the sequel to last year's hit Sherlock Holmes, is now officially scheduled for release on Dec. 16, 2011. The studio also slated the mysterious comedy known as Project X for Nov. 23, 2011.
While it isn't official yet, it appears that at least star Robert Downey Jr. and director Guy Ritchie will return for Sherlock Holmes 2 (Downey Jr. was forced to back out of Jon Favreau's Cowboys & Aliens due to scheduling conflicts with the Holmes sequel). Plot details are not currently available, though it's widely assumed that the movie will pit Holmes and his associate Watson (Jude Law) against their nemesis Moriarty.
Sherlock Holmes opened Christmas Day 2009, setting the single day Christmas record with $24.6 million. The movie continued to play well throughout the holidays and in to 2010, ultimately closing a month ago with just over $209 million. Add in over $307 million from foreign markets, and Sherlock Holmes has grossed a sizeable $516 million worldwide.
Sherlock Holmes 2 is the third high-profile sequel to lay claim to Dec. 16, following Alvin and the Chipmunks 3D and Mission: Impossible IV. As there does not appear to be a prior time when three major sequels were all released on the same day, history suggests that one of these movies will eventually yield. Since Sherlock Holmes and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel played well opposite each other when they opened on the same weekend last December, it's a safe bet that Mission: Impossible IV, which already has a history of release date changes, may relocate again.
Little is known about Project X, though it looks like action producer Joel Silver and The Hangover's Todd Phillips are teaming up to produce. Phillips is not slated to direct, with those responsibilities going to first-time director Nima Nourizadeh. Project X is currently the only movie scheduled to open the Wednesday before Thanksgiving 2011.