The coronavirus pandemic is causing major film release delays

L-r, Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) brave the unknown in "A Quiet Place Part II.”
L-r, Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) brave the unknown in "A Quiet Place Part II.” /

Studios are delaying their much-anticipated spring films in the wake of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak across the globe.

In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, major studios are weighing the risks of continuing as planned with their film release schedules, as well as the cost of delaying them.

MGM and Universal delayed No Time to Die, the latest Bond installment. According to a press statement, the decision was made “after careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace.” The film is now set to premiere November 12 in the U.K. and November 25 in the U.S.

The financial hit MGM is going to take after moving No Time to Die‘s release slot is estimated to be between $30 million to $50 million. The film is projected to accrue $1 billion in global revenue. According to The Hollywood Reporter, if the studio had continued as planned it could have “resulted in a minimum of 30 percent shaved off the final box office tallies” due to theater closures across the globe.

Universal, however, is going forward with Trolls World Tour. The studio moved the film up by a week, slotting the movie in No Time to Die‘s previous premiere date, April 10. Presumably this is not only due to its tie-in promotional product rollout already being in full swing, but also a need to fill a box-office void during Easter weekend. Deadline posits that the move works due to the staggered openings of animated family movies overseas:

"“They don’t always go day and date, as they capitalize on varying school holidays in other countries. That’s likely the distribution strategy here in moving Trolls World Tour up.”"

With Trolls World Tour‘s move and a revenue stream that depends primarily on the global box office, Sony delayed Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, sacrificing the Easter weekend bump the movie would have received if it were released on March 27 in the U.K. and April 3 in the U.S. The company is citing the film’s status as an international title as the reason for its new release date of August 7. Of the previous film’s box-office total of $351 million, $236 million was from overseas screenings.

The pattern thus far in film delays seems to hinge on the global theatrical market. According to Deadline, F9‘s move to an April 2 release in 2021 is due to China being a “linchpin market” for the franchise. Paramount Pictures is singing a similar tune for why they’ve delayed A Quiet Place Part 2 a week before its March 19 release :

"“After much consideration, and in light of the ongoing and developing situation concerning coronavirus and restrictions on global travel and public gatherings, Paramount Pictures will be moving the worldwide release of ‘A Quiet Place Part II.We believe in and support the theatrical experience, and we look forward to bringing this film to audiences this year once we have a better understanding of the impact of this pandemic on the global theatrical marketplace.”"

Paramount also delayed Lovebirds and A Blue Story. They’ve yet to announce the films’ new release dates.

A Quite Place 2 isn’t the only film to have a last-minute delay. Mulan, which was slated for release March 27, has also been delayed, along with Disney’s other upcoming ventures: New Mutants and Antlers.

With countries taking precautions to decrease the spread of COVID-19, time will tell if studios will have to make the decision to delay most distribution worldwide. Even domestically, the U.S. theater market has to be bracing itself as states close school systems, businesses drop to essential personnel only, and large-scale events are being canceled.

Public health is of great concern, and with every announcement of new COVID-19 cases — as well as the continuing state-wide closures across the U.S. — the likelihood of people jeopardizing their health for 90 to 120 minutes of theater-based entertainment goes down drastically.

As of March 13, and according to Variety, “Trolls World Tour is the only film from a major Hollywood studio that’s still opening until May.” Disney has yet to make a decision on Black Widow, which premieres May 1.

Next. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier delays production. dark

For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.