An interview with producer Richard Zanuck, mostly about Jaws and Alice in Wonderland, sported this incredibly telling phrase:
We had a date long before we started, a release date. The picture was actually booked in thousands of theaters long before we started, so my aim obviously was to make that date and it was very close.
Emphasis mine. The pipeline wins yet again.
How soon before Best Buy or Wal-Mart call the studios and demand something to fill six inches of shelf space for the 2014 Q2 season? Doesn't matter what it is — it's all interchangeable, isn't it?