Last week, No Time to Die shocked the world by announcing that it was postponing its April 2nd release date seven months to November, effectively stalling a film which had already run its course of advertising, hype and anticipation. It was a ballsy move on the part of MGM, but ultimately, one that had logic underpinning it. The Covid-19 pandemic is only growing more prominent and consequential, and indeed, in the last 24 hours, a slew of other films (including A Quiet Place Part II, Fast and Furious 9 and Mulan) have delayed their releases, effectively leaving March and April Blockbuster free.
It will undoubtedly cause major damage to the year end box office, with many of these movies presumably being forced to move to dates that will lead to a barrage of releases at the end of the year. Heck, Fast 9 has taken the most drastic action and has delayed the film by a whole year, with the new opening falling in April 2021. Thus, 2020 has officially lost one of its biggest potential money makers to the pandemic.
Of course, films will still be showing, but they’ll mostly be leftovers from February releases, and smaller Independent fare. Sonic the Hedgehog, The Invisible Man and Onward could be in for some luck if the public begins to crave a trip to the movies during this bare season. On the other hand, the advice to self-isolate and the reluctance for people to want to sit in a crowded room with a high risk of contagion may diminish these film’s money-making potential.
It could indeed go either way, and we don’t fully know how much further the outbreak, or indeed the media’s reaction to it, will escalate. While Marvel’s Black Widow and Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman 1984 (scheduled for May and June respectively) have not yet postponed their release, if the pandemic increases in intensity, there’s a real chance that they too could be delayed.
When looking back on the movies of 2020, as always, we hope to see a year full of quality and memorable filmmaking. But undoubtedly, this year will be marred by the effects of Coronavirus on the industry, something that we possibly, and hopefully, will never see again.