Culture

Films’ premieres are delayed or suspended due to pandemic

Here's every movie delayed by the coronavirus outbreak so far, beginning with No Time to Die; will other major 2020 films follow their lead?

Here’s every movie delayed by the coronavirus outbreak so far. The disease’s spread around the world has already had a significant impact on not just Hollywood, but the larger entertainment industry. This week, the NBA announced it’s suspending the remainder of the 2019-20 season until further notice, after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the 2020 SXSW festival, E3, CinemaCon, and ACE Comic Con have all been cancelled, and Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con has been pushed back to this summer. Concerns over the disease have also led to smaller but still noteworthy changes, like Disney cancelling the red carpet portion of Mulan’s European premiere as a precaution.

Obviously, because the coronavirus is able to spread easier in public areas and densely-crowded events, movie theater screenings are at risk and it’s better for distributors to err on the safe side by not releasing their biggest films until they have a clearer understanding of how this situation is going to unfold from here. Not to mention, as the coronavirus continues to make its way across the U.S., Europe, and other major moviegoing markets, those films would be also be at risk of taking a hit at the box office. For these reasons, it makes sense for studios to delay their major releases as they deem necessary.

There’ve been a handful of movies delayed so far, ranging from big-budget franchise films to smaller indie titles like Our Ladies. We will keep you updated as the situation develops, but for now here’s every movie that’s been officially pushed back over coronavirus concerns up to this point.

No Time To Die

MGM was the first studio to react to the coronavirus when it announced it would be moving No Time to Die – which serves as Daniel Craig’s fifth and final time playing James Bond – back seven months from its early April release date to late November. The studio is expected to lose $30-50 million, but it’s also believed they would have suffered an even bigger loss by sticking with their April date. With theaters in major markets like China, Japan, Italy, and South Korea shut down over coronavirus concerns, No Time to Die was looking at a potential loss of 30% of its projected $1 billion revenue – in other words, as much as $300 million. From both a public health safety perspective and a financial one, MGM made the right call.

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway

Six days after No Time to Die was officially postponed, Sony announced it would be doing the same with Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway. Originally scheduled to open in the U.K. and other international territories on March 27 before hitting the U.S. on April 3, Peter Rabbit 2 is now slated to begin its global rollout four months later on August 7. The delay was motivated by the box office performance of the first Peter Rabbit, which grossed about 67% of its $351. 2 million overall take at the international box office. With so many important non-U.S. markets having shut down, Sony decided it would be better to release the family-friendly sequel at a time when the worldwide box office is fully up and running again.

A Quiet Place Part II

Following speculation the film would be delayed, Paramount and John Krasinski confirmed they’re pushing his monster movie sequel, A Quiet Place Part II, back from its previous March 20 release date to an as-yet unspecified month later in 2020. As the studio explained in their statement, “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.” Given it’s a very real possibility select U.S. theaters will close down in the next couple of weeks (when A Quiet Place 2 would’ve been playing) because of the coronavirus, the decision makes sense from pretty much whichever angle you look at it.

Fast & Furious 9

Despite series lead and producer Vin Diesel promising Fast & Furious 9 wouldn’t be moved from its May 2020 release date in response to the cornovarius, the unpredictable situation has resulted in exactly that happening. Universal has now officially shifted the film back a full year to April 2, 2021 (a date they’d been holding onto for Fast & Furious 10). Much like James Bond, The Fast Saga is a franchise with a massive global audience; the seventh and eighth mainline entries alone grossed more than $1 billion outside of the U.S. With that kind of money on the line and the rest of 2020 already booked full (for now), it’s little wonder Universal decided to shift the film as far back as they did.

The Lovebirds

One of the smaller films delayed so far, The Lovebirds stars Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae as a couple who’ve just hit a snag in their relationship when they find themselves caught up in a whirlwind murder mystery. The comedy was originally scheduled to make its world premiere at SXSW before the event was cancelled, and has since been pulled from its previous April 3 U.S. release date altogether. Paramount has yet to announce a new launch time for the comedy and probably won’t until it becomes clearer how the coronavirus is going to impact the domestic box office over the next few weeks. All the same, The Lovebirds is still expected to arrive sometime this year.

The New Mutants

Yes, Josh Boone’s The New Mutants – the last X-Men project Fox completed before being purchased by Disney – has been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, making this the fourth time the project has been shuffled around overall. In truth, the movie really has been a victim of circumstance; shortly after it was initially postponed to undergo reshoots that, in the end, never happened, Disney bought Fox and the film continously found itself being moved to the back-burner for the two years that followed. Boone only recently got the chance to put the finishing touches on The New Mutants and the final cut has since been locked and rated. Now, all it needs is a new release date… again.

Mulan

Disney’s MULAN..Mulan (Yifei Liu)..Photo: Film Frame..© 2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

With March, April, and even May tentpoles being delayed left and right, it’s almost surprising Disney waited as long as they did to push their live-action Mulan back. At the same time, the project is just too expensive for the studio to risk it under-performing, especially with so much of the international box office (including China, Denmark, Greece, and more) closing down in an effort to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading further via theatrical screenings. Their tenative plan is to release Mulan at some point in the latter half of 2020 – and considering how many upcoming films are owned by Disney, post-Fox deal, the studio shouldn’t have too much trouble sorting out a new date.

Antlers

Speaking of movies owned by Disney – Scott Cooper’s horror film Antlers has been officially removed from the studio’s release slate, about a month before it was due to open in April. Produced by Guillermo del Toro, the Searchlight Pictures project doesn’t have as much to lose from a poor commercial performance as other Mouse House tentpoles do, thanks to its mid-budget. But at the same time, there’s really no point in Disney releasing Antlers as planned; whether theaters in the U.S. remain fully operational throughout the next couple months or not, the domestic box office is going to experience a drop-off now that the biggest new movies have all been delayed because of the coronavirus.

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