At a time when a trickle of moviegoers has begun to return to cinemas, the distributors of several eagerly awaited films have pushed their movie release dates to ensure that their blockbusters attract the largest possible audience.
At a time when theaters are reopening across the United States, film studios are clearly remaining cautious. Warner Bros. has decided to postpone the releases of Chistopher Nolan’s next film, Tenet, which was slated for July 17, and the Patty Jenkins-directed Wonder Woman 1984, originally due out on August 14. These eagerly awaited productions are now respectively scheduled to arrive in cinemas some time mid-August and on October 2.
Other major productions will simply not be released this year, among them Godzilla vs. Kong which, instead of showing on November 20 as planned, is now due out on May 21, 2021. The slot in question was originally intended for Matrix 4, whose release has now been pushed back by almost a year to April 1, 2022. Other movies that have yet to be given a new launch date include The Witches by Robert Zemeckis, which was due to premiere on October 9, but has simply been withdrawn from the calendar for the time being.
Meanwhile Mulan, a mega-budget live action remake of the tale of a legendary Chinese warrior, had already been delayed once, to July 24. It will now launch on August 21, a statement from Disney said Friday – though the company warned of the need to be “flexible” in the process.
“While the pandemic has changed our movie release dates for Mulan, we will continue to be flexible as conditions require, it has not changed our belief in the power of this film and its message of hope and perseverance,” said a statement from Walt Disney Studios co-chairmen Alan Bergman and Alan Horn.
In this game of musical chairs, one title has fared better than the others, the new James Bond. The next instalment in the 007 saga, No Time to Die, will release in the United States five days ahead of its originally scheduled date. Daniel Craig will reprise his role as the British secret agent on November 20 instead of November 25.
While some venues are scheduled to be reopened soon, it may take time for the moviegoing business to make a full recovery. Customers are slowly returning to theaters that were closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but clearly they are not sufficiently numerous for several studios, which have opted to postpone the release of their new films in the hope of attracting bigger crowds.