“Fast & Furious 7” gets earlier release date

Fast-and-Furious-7-Paul-Walker-Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordanna Brewster

Despite reports of some unhappiness and uncertainty on set in the wake of the tragic death of star Paul Walker, Universal Pictures announced the release date of “Fast & Furious 7” is being bumped up.

Fast and Furious 7 Vin Diesel and Rhonda RouseyInstead of its April 10, 2016 release date, the film is now moving to April 3, 2016. You may write that off as an insignificant shift, but recent history indicates that the “summer” blockbuster season is starting earlier and earlier each year and Universal appears to want to get a jump on all of the serious 2016 competition.

Captain America: The Winter Solider” kicked off this year’s big slate with an April 4 debut and until “Transformers: Age of Extinction” arrived in theaters this past weekend, was 2014’s biggest opener. With “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Captain America 3” slated for May, it was probably a smart move on Universal’s part to kick off the season instead of folks waiting on the superhero showdown to get audiences excited about getting back to the theaters.