Disney Pushes Back Almost All Its 2020 Movies to Next Year
A month ago, there was reason to feel at least a little hopeful about the future of movie theaters. After months of closures due to the coronavirus, there was a full fall season of upcoming movies. Then Tenet opened around the country — quietly. In some areas, theaters remain closed. In other areas, theaters opened, but audiences didn’t return in massive numbers, fearing that time spent in an enclosed space with strangers could expose them to the virus.
A month later, the mood has darkened significantly. Tenet’s weak box office sparked a wave of delays including Wonder Woman 1984 and Candyman. Today Disney followed suit, pushing back almost their entire 2020 film slate to next year. Its big Marvel tentpole, Black Widow, will now open in May of 2021, while the murder mystery Death on the Nile and the Steven Spielberg musical West Side Story are getting bumped as well.
More, per Variety:
“Death on the Nile” — a follow-up to 2017’s box office hit “Murder on the Orient Express” — will bow on Dec. 18, 2020, vacating its original Oct. 23 premiere. “Death on the Nile,” a murder mystery based on Agatha Christie’s novel, appeals to an older moviegoers, a demographic that might be hesitant to return to indoor spaces during the pandemic. “West Side Story,” which marks Spielberg’s first foray into musicals, was expected to be a key Academy Awards contender. An awards career may still be in its future, but not at this year’s Oscars. “West Side Story” will launch a year later than expected, on Dec. 10, 2021 instead of Dec. 18, 2020.
One of the few 2020 movies Disney didn’t delay yet is Pixar’s Soul, which is still slated for November 20. Will it get released on that date? Will it get postponed eventually anyway? Will Disney eventually push it to Disney+, the way it did with Mulan? Any option seems equally possible.
Whatever happens, this is already terrible news for theaters, who are now faced with a fall almost completely devoid of big movies. Theaters reopened on the promise that these blockbusters would be coming, and now they are not. Soul, Wonder Woman, and maybe No Time to Die and Dune are not going to be enough to keep these businesses profitable. What’s a movie theater without new movies? It’s a big empty building.
Gallery — Why We Miss Movie Theaters So Badly Right Now: