Thursday saw a wave of cancellations, pushbacks and delays over the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, with major studio tentpole films like the “Fast & Furious” sequel “F9,” Disney’s “Mulan,” John Krasinksi’s “A Quiet Place Part II” and the Issa Rae-Kumail Nanjiani rom-com “The Lovebirds” all getting pushed back.
The Disney films “Mulan,” “The New Mutants” from 20th Century Studios and “Antlers” from Searchlight Pictures were all also delayed “out of an abundance of caution,” Disney announced Thursday. And the studio is currently searching for new 2020 release dates.
In addition to Krasinki’s sequel to “A Quiet Place,” due to open next Friday, Paramount also delayed the film “Blue Story.” These titles all join the previously announced delays for upcoming releases like MGM’s James Bond film “No Time to Die” and Sony’s “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway.”
As of yet, the Paramount titles do not have release dates, but Universal was willing to push back “F9” nearly a full year to now open on April 2, 2021.
“F9” with Vin Diesel was meant to open Memorial Day weekend. “A Quiet Place Part II” was slated for a domestic March 20 opening preceded by an international rollout two days earlier. “The Lovebirds” was already meant to premiere at SXSW before the Austin festival was canceled, and now its April 2 release date has also been postponed as well. “Blue Story” was slated for a wide release in the U.K. and a limited opening domestically on March 20 but is now also undated.
Earlier this month, MGM moved the 25th James Bond movie “No Time to Die” to Nov. 25, and Sony moved “Peter Rabbit 2” to Aug. 7.
As has been the case with all of these films, while many movie theaters in the U.S. have yet to shutter, the international gross is highly important to the box office success of major franchise films, and moving the international release without also shifting the domestic opening could greatly impact piracy abroad.
Even an independent film, “The Artist’s Wife” from Strand Releasing and Water’s End Productions, delayed its limited release rollout amid fears over the coronavirus, the distributors announced Thursday. The film starring Bruce Dern and Lena Olin was originally scheduled to be released in New York on April 3 at the Angelika Film Center and Landmark 57, in Los Angeles on April 10 at Laemmle’s Royal, Playhouse, and Town Centre theaters and in San Francisco on April 17 at Landmark’s Embarcadero and East Bay theaters. No new release date has been set.
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film “The Truth” from IFC Films will also postpone its Mar. 20 domestic release to now open at an unspecified date in summer 2020. The film is in both French and English starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke and has already opened in some overseas markets.
On Wednesday, President Trump announced a travel restriction that would bar most travel coming from much of Europe. Further, TheWrap reported on Wednesday that half of the world’s Top 10 theatrical markets have at least partially closed theaters in their countries or are practicing social-distancing techniques, restricting the number of tickets sold to limit the spread of the virus.
It stands to reason that these will not be the last movie release date shifts on Thursday or beyond, as changes are happening rapidly and events continue to be cancelled in Hollywood, sports and more.
The CDC as of Thursday is reporting just over 1,200 cases in the U.S. alone, with 36 people reported dead from the COVID-19 virus.