As part of a large slate shuffle, Sony Pictures has moved the release dates for the live-action Marvel film “Kraven the Hunter” and the animated trilogy-capper “Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse” due to issues related to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA actors strike.
“Kraven the Hunter,” which stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the bloodthirsty hunter and Spider-Man nemesis, is being moved from an October 2023 release to Labor Day weekend 2024. “Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse,” which was set for a March 2024 release, is now undated with a new release date set to be announced after the strike is resolved.
However, studio heads felt that moving the completed “Kraven the Hunter” to the end of summer 2024 was necessary to allow for Taylor-Johnson and his co-stars, which include Oscar winners Ariana DeBose and Russell Crowe, to promote the film. Actors have withdrawn from promoting any upcoming or past projects from major studios as part of the SAG-AFTRA strike.
“Beyond the Spider-Verse,” meanwhile, had no choice but to move as no voice lines have been recorded for the “Across the Spider-Verse sequel,” delaying further development of the animated film. Insiders said the studio will be unable to set a new date for the film until production resumes.
Sony has a lot riding on “Beyond the Spider-Verse” considering that its predecessor, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” has earned universal acclaim and has become the studio’s biggest animated box office hit ever with $677 million worldwide. Wherever it lands on the 2024 or 2025 release slate will likely trigger moves by other studios, given the anticipation from moviegoers to see how the trilogy’s cliffhanger is resolved.
The year-long push of “Kraven the Hunter,” meanwhile, will likely spark some anxiety for cinema owners, who have been waiting to see how the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes will affect the film release slate. As the COVID-19 pandemic showed, when one studio moves their titles dates, others follow suit.
It is also worth noting that “Kraven” was set to receive support from Imax auditoriums in October and this move comes two days after Imax CEO Rich Gelfond said in an earnings call that he did not expect films supported by his company to face a move by the strike, though he was specifically asked about Warner Bros.’ “Dune: Part Two” when making the comments.
“Given our surging indexing, we believe studios will be reluctant to move films on our slate — and potentially sacrifice an already agreed to Imax window,” Gelfond said.
Along with “Kraven” and “Spider-Verse,” Sony announced other non-strike-related slate changes, including a move for the upcoming sequel to “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” to Easter weekend 2024, and summer 2024 release slots for the next installments in the “Bad Boys” and “Venom” franchises.