The Walt Disney Co. has further postponed its next mega-movies from Marvel, including “Black Widow,” while also postponing Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” a full year in the company’s latest recalibration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walt Disney Co. has now come on the consideration of the release live-action epic “Mulan” in film theatres in July next year. Ten of Disney’s top films shuffled release dates Wednesday, uprooting several of the company’s major fall releases this year which got hitched due to the COVID-1 pandemic. The Scarlett Johansson Marvel movie “Black Widow,” last set for Nov. 6, heads to May 7 of next year. Instead of opening next month, Kenneth Branagh’s murder mystery “Death on the Nile” moves to Dec. 18. That was the date set for “West Side Story,” but Spielberg’s musical will instead debut in December 2021.
Disney didn’t entirely abandon the season. The Pixar release “Soul” remains on the calendar for late November which now have already been delayed and postponed as the next date of release of “Soul” has not been announced yet. “The Empty Man,” a horror release from the former 20th Century Fox, is moving up from October to December 23. Given the rack of “Soul”, nothing can be said with confident about the release of “The Empty Man” which already has been moved from the set schedule 2 times before.
But the delays of Disney’s upcoming blockbusters reinforce the growing exodus from 2020 among the blockbusters that hadn’t already uprooted to next year. Following tepid ticket sales for Warner Bros.’ “Tenet” in a U.S. theatrical marketplace where about 30% of cinemas remain closed, Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman 1984” moved from October to Christmas and Universal Pictures’ “Candyman” postponed to next year.
It turns out that the interwoven nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is both a blessing as a curse. Because when one film is delayed, the whole slate is affected. The upcoming “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” previously held the May 7, 2021 release date, but has now been bumped to July 9, 2021. The disturbance in release date of the films already scheduled next year also got disturbed due to push of the not released movies in 2020, mainly due to closure of cinemas worldwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic as production houses fears the loss in profits as a lot is on stakes.
Given the interconnected and connected in chains with each other; the nature of Marvel releases, the latest delay of “Black Widow” had a domino effect on other films. Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” starring Simu Liu as the martial arts hero, is now slated for July 9, 2021, instead of May 7. Chloe Zhao “Eternals,” with Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan and Kumail Nanjiani, moves from February to Nov. 5, 2021. The Ben Affleck-Ana de Armas thriller “Deep Water” was also pushed from November until August next year. Disney set the debut of Mulan, which was supposed to reach theatres last month, for July 24.
Nanjiani took his Twitter handle to express his point of view said, “Marvel made the right and responsible decision. Nothing is more important than health and lives. I can’t tell people to go to a movie theater until I feel safe going to one.”
While some studios are attempting to pretend things as conventional and the approach attempted by the main giants of production house, some production studios are going swiftly swimmingly. They are more than hopeful about the return of moviegoers to warm the cinema seats and they hold some type of responsibility on the viewers shoulders as they should return to theaters.
However, on the other hand, the box office numbers from Christopher Nolan’s film “Tenet” say otherwise. The espionage thriller opened to just $20 million at the domestic box office, and in the three weeks since has only managed to earn about $16 million more. Worldwide “Tenet” has grossed $25 million only very below the par then expected by the movie pundits.
Not only Disney Inc. but many other major production houses are moving their cards by keeping a close eye on the developing situation of film industry badly affected and put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mighty film production house; ViacomCBS Inc’s Paramount Pictures have also moved a new animated “SpongeBob” film to July 31 next year from November this year.
AT&T Inc’s Warner Bros said it planned to release “Wonder Woman 1984” on August 14 2021, moving the slate from December 10 2020. “Black Widow”, another project by AT&T Inc’s starring Scarlett Johansson, had been re scheduled to kick off into the direction by the summer blockbuster season, traditionally Hollywood’s most lucrative period at theatres, on May 1. It will now debut on November 6 2021, a date that had been reserved for Marvel’s “The Eternals”.
Due to bleak financial situation of film industry, both production houses came on the consensus to not release movie on the same date. Due to the consensus, the Disney Inc. has moved back the Eternals to February 12, 2021 rather than November 6, 2021. This sudden movement has resulted in the postponement of several other Marvel films by a few months and disturbed already scheduled movies in mid of 2021 which is meant to be the lucrative and most productive period for the film industry and especially HOLLYWOOD.
If there is any bright side to be coming out of production houses is that the Pixar’s “Soul” is staying put for now with its Nov. 20, 2020 theatrical release date, and 20th Century’s “Free Guy” is still locked in to release on Dec. 11. Hollywood studios are optimistic on their end that theatres will be back in business by late July next year. Even the cinemas are open in the U.S. and other major parts of the world with strict SOP’s and restrictions but still the fans are not able to focus on the entertainment and movies due to the jolts which the COVID-19 pandemic has given.
The author is Editor In Chief of THE DAILY BEAT website. He is an average person with average life having blockbuster ideas.