All the Movie Releases Being Pushed Back Due to COVID-19
The calendar is in chaos.
When MGM announced that the release of the James Bond movie No Time to Die would be delayed until November, it was the first major sign of how the movie industry would be affected by the worldwide spread of COVID-19. Then, on March 12, Universal dropped the news that F9, the latest in the Fast & Furious saga which was set to premiere May 22, would be pushed back a full year. Dom Toretto and his familia were supposed to return to screens this May, but the studio will now unveil the Justin Lin-directed epic in April 2021 globally, hitting North America next April 2.
In a press release addressed to "our family of Fast fans everywhere" and signed by "Your Fast Family," Universal wrote: "We feel all the love and the anticipation you have for the next chapter in our saga. That’s why it’s especially tough to let you know that we have to move the release date of the film. It’s become clear that it won’t be possible for all of our fans around the world to see the film this May."
The global markets are incredibly important to the success of the Fast franchise. Furious 7 is the ninth-highest grossing movie of all time worldwide, while the most recent installment, The Fate of the Furious, is the 19th. The first trailer for F9 -- which ended with the (very exciting) reveal that Han was back and alive, apparently -- was released during an over-the-top concert event in Miami featuring, among others, Cardi B.
F9 isn't the only major movie shifting its plans as people are urged to practice "social distancing" to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. John Krasinski announced on Twitter that A Quiet Place Part II, scheduled for release March 20, would be moved to an undisclosed later date. Paramount, in statement, said: "We look forward to bringing this film to audiences this year once we have a better understanding of the impact of this pandemic on the global theatrical marketplace." (The irony that this all seems like something out of a dystopian horror movie like, well, A Quiet Place is not escaping us.)
And these were just the beginning of widespread cancellations. Later, the same day, Disney decided to reschedule the live action Mulan, which was going to be released March 27 and has already premiered in Los Angeles. At the same time the company -- which is also closing its parks -- pushed Searchlight's horror movie Antlers and New Mutants, the essentially cursed X-Men spinoff that was moved around multiple times for non-coronavirus based reasons. (Why that film doesn't drop on Disney+ or Hulu immediately is anyone's guess.) And less than a week later, the studio, which also includes former Fox properties, essentially wiped the rest of its slate through May. Mulan has since been rescheduled for July 24, the date previously held by Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch which is now going to October 16. Pixar's Soul was still on the schedule for June until mid-April when it got pushed to November. Black Widow is also coming in the fall and will hit November 6, bumping the launch of Marvel's Eternals to next year along with Jungle Cruise. Artemis Fowl is getting the Disney+ treatment.
Warner Bros. and Sony were two of the last major players to make moves. WB initially pushed back Wonder Woman 1984 from early June to August 14, optimistically hoping we'll be back to going to movie theaters by that point. But then in June it bumped it again to October 2. Christopher Nolan's mysterious Tenet was holding firm to its July 17 release date until it got moved two weeks later to July 31. Other films, however, are being shifted more drastically like In the Heights, Jon M. Chu's highly anticipated adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical which now won't debut until June 2021. Sony basically cleared its schedule through September 2020, moving titles like Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and Morbius to 2021.
Movie theaters from chains like AMC and Regal have had to shut down in keeping with efforts to curb the spread of the virus. With Governor Andrew Cuomo's mandate that gatherings of 500 or more people must be canceled, Broadway theaters are shutting down and the Tribeca Film Festival has also been postponed. (Tribeca will happen in some form virtually however.)
Meanwhile, as offices closed across the country, so did film and TV productions. For example, Riverdale shut down in Vancouver following the news that a person working on the show came into contact with someone who has been infected, and Ryan Murphy has suspended production of his Netflix movie The Prom out of "an abundance of caution," per Deadline's source. In March, Disney either halted or delayed production on all of its live action movies, including The Little Mermaid remake and Guillermo Del Toro's Nightmare Alley. Destin Daniel Cretton, who is directing the Marvel feature Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, self isolated and got tested. The studio also paused various TV projects and others, including Netflix, have done the same.
And, of course, there's then the case of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, arguably they highest profile people to first announce they have contracted the disease. They were in Australia because of Hanks' role in Baz Luhrmann's Elvis biopic when they got tested and learned they had both contracted COVID-19.
This post has been updated as new information has been released.
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