New year, same old tune. With the situation at the box office not improving as quickly as Hollywood may have hoped, it appears as though a number of upcoming blockbusters scheduled for the first half of 2021 will be delayed yet again. We played release date shuffle all throughout 2020 in the hopes that the new year would offer greener pastures. That may still prove to be true later in the year. But, for now, movies like No Time to Die, F9, Morbius and others may need to move at least once more or risk losing millions.
According to a new report, with approximately 65 percent of movie theaters closed in the U.S., and with many more closed internationally, studios will have to make difficult decisions with movies set to be released relatively early in 2021. Vaccines are being distributed currently, which many had hoped would boost box office dollars. But the rollout in the U.S. has been particularly slow, meaning that any improvements won’t be felt for some time. As such, studios that scheduled big-budget movies for theatrical release in the first several months of this year are almost certainly going to delay those titles yet again in the hopes that the situation will, eventually, improve enough to make the money they need to make.
Sony’s Cinderella, which stars Camila Cabello, is the first major release of 2021, scheduled for February 5. Considering there has been virtually no marketing up to this point, it seems all but certain the movie will be delayed. Disney has The King’s Man, a prequel to The Kingsman, slated for March 12. The movie has already been pushed multiple times. Perhaps the biggest movie in the first quarter of 2021 is Morbius, Sony’s latest Spider-Man spin-off set within the Marvel universe starring Jared Leto. That is currently set to arrive on March 19. Considering Venom grossed more than $850 million worldwide, the studio isn’t likely to release that particular title until the theatrical marketplace is on more certain ground.
It’s in April when things become less certain. Perhaps things improve enough by then for mid-budget movies, such as A Quiet Place Part II (April 23) to take a shot at it. But massive blockbusters such as Fast & Furious 9 and the latest James Bond movie No Time to Die come with budgets in the $200 million range. It is nearly impossible for movies like that to turn a profit with a VOD release. They rely on global box office returns. As such, they are likely to be delayed until much later in the year as to avoid any further issues.
May is also foggy. Black Widow, Godzilla vs. Kong, Free Guy and more are slated to arrive that month. WarnerMedia is releasing all of its movies, such as Godzilla vs. Kong, in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously. So their plans are unlikely to change. But Marvel and Disney may be put in a precarious situation with Black Widow. Whether or not that leads to a hybrid release like they did with Mulan remains to be seen. This news comes to us via Variety.