The on-going Coronavirus pandemic has essentially thrown the entire world out of whack, and that very much includes Hollywood’s blockbuster schedule. With people told to stay home as much as possible, and theaters closing their doors, all of the upcoming blockbusters in the next few months have been postponed. What’s particularly interesting about the situation, however, is that while some movies have already announced new release dates later in 2020 (like No Time To Die and Wonder Woman 1984) and in 2021 (like F9), there are many, such as Black Widow, that currently exist without a spot on the calendar.
As the industry works out its recovery plan in the next few months, one of the biggest questions bubbling is in regard to what’s going to happen with all of the dateless big releases. To address that puzzle in an organized fashion, we’ve put together this feature to not only identify all of the major movies with schedules up in the air, but also estimate where they may ultimately land on the calendar – with the greater assumption being that the global situation will be resolved by July. Addressing the titles in the order they were set to come out pre-pandemic, we will start with…
A Quiet Place: Part II
Original Release Date: March 20th
Originally set to come out on March 20th, John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place Part II was the first major movie to bump up against the COVID-19 pandemic. The release date was originally planned to mirror the first A Quiet Place, which came out in March 2018, but clearly that’s not happening anymore. Unlike some of the other films on this list, however, one advantage that it holds on to is the fact that it’s completely finished, meaning that it can basically come out whenever it’s possible for films to start coming out again. This in mind, it’s likely that what was once a winter release is going to hit theaters in summer, as in early July – and the horror feature might even end up earning more money than it would have on its previous timeline.
Original Release Date: March 27th
Niki Caro’s Mulan is another title that is simply dealing with a release date issue instead of potential post-production delays, as the film has already locked print and held press screenings. That being said, finding a good new home for it on the calendar is a bit tricky. Assuming that Disney won’t be inclined to move the late July date that currently belongs to Jaume Collet-Serra’s Jungle Cruise, the blockbuster could potentially slot in well in late August or early September – whichever offers it enough distance from Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984. Under normal circumstances a late August release wouldn’t look all that attractive, as that’s when studios typically dump projects into theaters that they don’t have faith in, but we’re not exactly dealing with normal circumstances.
The New Mutants
Original Release Date: April 3rd
Is it crazy to think that the universe just wants to prevent the release of Josh Boone’s The New Mutants at all costs? At this point in time it doesn’t seem all that far-fetched. This is a film that completed its principal photography back in Fall 2017, and has experienced a seemingly endless number of delays and pushbacks in the years since – with the COVID-19 pandemic just being the latest reason. If it was going to just land on a streaming service it would have done so by now, so we can assume that it will still get a theatrical release. When? That’s a good question. Looking at the current schedule, and noting the number of significant titles still to discuss in this feature, one might see it finding a home in the dead zone that is early December.
Original Release Date: May 1st
Cate Shortland’s Black Widow stands apart from all of the other titles in this list in that it’s a film that is part of a franchise with a larger design. The order in which movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are released typically carry a certain amount of significance, and given that the Scarlett Johansson blockbuster is kicking off what’s known as Phase 4, it’s definitely no exception. At this point it’s unclear if the movie is going to need a minute after the end of the pandemic to complete its post-production, but if it does, coming out in early October might be a possibility (though that would require Andy Serkis’ Venom 2 to move away from its current October 2nd date – which is something that could very well happen).
Spiral: From The Book Of Saw
Original Release Date: May 15th
By coming out in May, Darren Lynn Bousman’s Spiral: From The Book Of Saw was already breaking with franchise tradition, as every title from James Wan’s original Saw to Michael and Peter Spierig’s Jigsaw came out in the month of October. Given its pandemic-related delay, it’s not impossible that the new movie will have a chance to change that. Admittedly Halloween season does already have a heavy-hitter set up, with David Gordon Green’s Halloween Kills on the calendar for October 16th, but October 30th is totally open, and would probably suit the film really well. It would have serious competition, but perhaps people really in the mood to watch scary movies will organize their own double features.
Original Release Date: May 15th
With its mid-May release date, Warner Bros. hoped that Tony Cervone’s Scoob! would be a nice early summer hit, but clearly that’s not in the cards anymore. If it’s in a state to be released, though, it could wind up finding a nice place for itself in early September. Historically it’s not exactly a fantastic spot for family-friendly entertainment, as the whole back-to-school thing tends to be a significant distraction, but it might be the best bet for the animated movie if it wants to stay in 2020.
In The Heights
Original Release Date: June 26th
One film that we know for a fact won’t be ready for release by the time the pandemic is over is Jon Chu’s In The Heights, as Lin-Manuel Miranda has said that the film was still working on the music when post-production stopped – and it’s notably an element of the project that can’t be worked on while folks are social distancing. This leaves the project with a bit of an issue, as with the fall schedule being really packed, the best option for it may be December… and that’s when Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is set to come out. It’s possible that we could see some holes open up in the latter months of the year as more titles are delayed because they need additional post-production time after the pandemic, but Warner Bros. may not be able to put this one out until the early months of 2021.
Minions: The Rise Of Gru
Original Release Date: July 3rd
Kyle Balda’s Minions: The Rise Of Gru was the first major film following the start of the pandemic to officially change its release not because of potential of theaters still being closed, but instead because the global situation means that it won’t be ready on schedule. Doing the math, that means that the movie has as much as three months of work that still needs to be done by the project’s team of animators, so that means that a new date before September is likely not realistic. That in mind, late December might be a good bet. Not only will the Illumination Entertainment sequel want to have a bit of distance from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Raya And The Last Dragon, which is this year’s family-friendly Thanksgiving release, but right now there are no animated titles slated for the last month of the year.
Original Release Date: August 14th
Of all the films mentioned here, James Wan’s Malignant is in a unique position in that it’s lack of a release date doesn’t stem from the fact that it’s expected to be impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the reason the throwback giallo flick has been taken off the calendar is simply because Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 took its weekend when it was pushed back from early June to mid-August. That leaves the situation surrounding the movie a bit more flexible… but the possibility exists that this is a movie we won’t get to see until early 2021. Not only are there a whole lot of blockbusters jockeying for attention in the second half of 2020, but there are already a number of other horror films as well. Knowing that Wan definitely has the skills to deliver a hit, this one could perhaps big a surprise hit in the first quarter of next year.
Where do you think these films are going to end up on the release calendar? Which ones are you most excited to see? Hit the comments section with all of your thoughts, feelings, and opinions, and stay tuned for updates about all the releases impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic here on CinemaBlend.