Warner Bros. is playing a very confusing game with their year-end films, and not a particularly comforting one. Wise, it may very well be, but the studio seems to be in a position of prolonging their stream of 2012 films. The studio had long ago pushed Alfonso Cuaron's much anticipated "Gravity" into the 2013 netherworld, without even the comfort of a release date. "The Gangster Squad" was pushed back so the studio could do reshoots on a scene involving a cinema shooting, which they deemed too insensitive so shortly after the Aurora shootings. Now they are taking one of my most highly anticipated flicks of the year's latter half and sending it into Summer of the following year.
Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby", by all known accounts, would be ready for its original Christmas release date, though Warner Bros. has been massively retooling their year-end schedule ahead of the rest of the crowd. The move to Summer could be for a couple of reasons, one I mostly suspect being the success of counter-intuitive Soderbergh smash "Magic Mike". That environment is a strong area for such pop heavy films, and the imagery of Baz Luhrmann really speaks for that kind of energy. In general, Baz has seemed more in tune with the summer feeling than the critical rush of winter.
Luhrmann, Warner Bros, and company may have more awards and box office success with more space between their film and the end-of-year awards. But those are just a few ways to explain away the decision in a way that lets us coolly down from the slight aftertaste of disappointment. Leo DiCaprio fans will still have "Django Unchained" to look forward, and his awards odds may be stronger now that there isn't a split between the two performances. The most logical complaint against the decision is that "The Great Gatsby" was a 2012 film, and now it's a 2013 film.