Studio tentpoles are getting pulled left and right from 2020 after Warner Brothers decided to delay the release of Tenet earlier this week.
Tenet was the first of the studio tentpoles to get pulled. On Thursday, Disney would follow with pulling Mulan and Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch from the schedule. Black Widow remains in place but future Avatar and Star Wars films are on the move. Meanwhile, Paramount also decided to pull some films out of 2020. A Quiet Place Part II and Top Gun: Maverick are now going to see their theatrical release in 2021.
It’s interesting that Paramount decided to move those two films in particular. Starting with The Lovebirds, Paramount slowly unloaded their films onto Netflix and other streaming providers. Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 is now hitting Netflix on October 16. On Thursday, Paramount unloaded Without Remorse onto Amazon. This move makes sense from a branding standpoint since Amazon also has the Jack Ryan series.
Studios are taking advantage of the deadline extension by moving films into early 2021. Respect, the Aretha Franklin biopic, was set for late December and will now being opening wide over MLK weekend. While that film is an Oscar contender, other films have been pulled indefinitely.
For all of the studio tentpoles that have been moved, Disney has kept The New Mutants in its late August date. Will this stay the same come this time next month? I highly doubt it. The same goes for Wonder Woman 1984 in October. There is currently some talk that Disney could move Soul out of theatrical and straight to VOD or Disney+. This would give families a new movie to watch at home but at the same time, it means another loss for theaters.
It seems like it was only a few months ago when I was walking the streets of Los Angeles while attending FYC events during awards season. And now, who knows what’s going to happen on that front? Following the two month delay of next year’s Academy Awards ceremony, many awards shows followed in delaying their ceremonies. The Critics Choice Awards are among them, now taking place in early March. Not only are the shows delayed but the final deadline for a release is now the end of February 2021. Personally speaking, I think the deadline should remain the same. Everyone has a different opinion but I feel that an extension hurts other films. But I digress.
I feel for the theaters. Nobody wants to be in this situation. But at the same time, people aren’t rushing back to theaters in massive numbers. Without New York and Los Angeles markets opening theaters, it’s tough to see how studios can move forward with their releases. Film production may be resuming in these states but people are afraid of being indoors for too long. Personally, I would feel very uncomfortable walking inside a theater without a vaccine. I know that I am not alone when it comes to that.