Deadline reports that Verbinski's departure is an "amicable split" with studio 20th Century Fox, and chalks up the move to "scheduling issues with several other projects on the director's plate." Still, it's an odd choice so close to the planned production start, which was to begin in New Orleans in March. According to The Hollywood Reporter, casting was already in full swing.
Verbinski is the third helmer to join, then subsequently leave, the film over the past few years, following both Rupert Wyatt (who bailed in 2015) and Doug Liman (who backed out in 2016). It's a bad sign for "Gambit," which has sputtered in development limbo for quite some time, despite a strong commitment from Fox and still-attached titular star Channing Tatum.
Now, the studio is scrambling yet again to fill the director's chair, and with that March shoot date looming, it may need to delay production. That will obviously affect the film's planned release date, which is currently scheduled for February 14, 2019.
It's unclear if Fox will still try to make that date. But considering how many times this film has been delayed already, we wouldn't be shocked if it's pushed back yet again. Stay tuned.