Even though Onward only hit theaters on March 6 Disney made the Chris Pratt-led Pixar feature, available to stream on Disney+ on April 3. Depending on what historical metric you use, this is about six months early for home video, and possibly a full year early for subscription-based streaming.
Frozen II, which was released last November is also already on Disney+, similarly months ahead of schedule. And while it was just a few days before its originally scheduled release, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker came to video-on-demand services early as well.
More dramatically, Disney also announced plans to premiere Artemis Fowl directly on Disney+, forgoing a scheduled August theatrical release altogether.
Other recently released films, including Birds of Prey and Call of the Wild, are also coming to on-demand earlier than expected, likely seeking to reach a literally captive audience.
And now, the bad news. The other option for studios is pushing the release date of upcoming titles back in the hopes that the crisis abates and theaters reopen by the rescheduled date. It’s one that they’re choosing quite often, particularly for summer blockbusters. There’s also something of a domino effect, with summer releases moving to winter, winter releases moving to 2021, and 2021 titles moving to 2022.
Mulan, the live-action remake of the animated film is now opening on July 24, pushing Jungle Cruise, which originally had that release date, back to July of 2021.
A similar chain reaction has hit the MCU, with phase four taking on a dramatically different schedule. Black Widow, the first post-Infinity Saga film in the MCU, was pushed from May 1 to November 6, the original release date for The Eternals, now due for February 12 of next year.
That move pushed Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings to May 7, 2021, which pushed the Doctor Strange sequel to November 5, 2021, which pushed Thor: Love and Thunder all the way to February 18, 2022. The lone bit of good news is that Captain Marvel 2 moved up a couple of weeks to July 8, 2022.
Elsewhere on the summer blockbuster landscape, No Time To Die was moved from April to November. F9 was originally supposed to be released in May but is now slated for an April 2021 release.
Sony is pursuing a similar strategy with a slew of other films, including Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Morbius, and Uncharted. Greyhound, a Tom Hanks World War II movie was also delayed indefinitely.
As to Universal, Minions: The Rise of Gru was pushed a year, to 4th of July weekend 2021. That was the weekend Sing 2 was supposed to hit theaters; it’s now on the books for the holiday season. And Wicked, the long-awaited adaptation of the Broadway musical originally slated for the holidays, was delayed indefinitely.
Paramount’s biggest change is that Top Gun Maverick has been pushed from June 24 to December 23, a minor tragedy for a movie that just feels like a summer flick. A Quiet Place II has a new release date of September 4 while The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run is moving from Memorial Day weekend to the last day of July.
That’s a lot to keep track of, so here’s an up-to-date list of all of the coronavirus-caused changes to the movie release schedule.
On Subscription Streaming Services Early Frozen II (Disney) – Disney+ Onward (Disney) – Disney+ Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Pyramide Films) – Hulu Artemis Fowl (Disney) – Disney+ (premiere date TBD) The Lovebirds (Paramount) – Netflix (premiere date TBD) On Video-On-Demand Services Early Birds of Prey (Warner Bros.) Call of the Wild (20th Century) Downhill (Searchlight) Emma (Focus Features) The Gentlemen (STX Films) The Hunt (Universal) The Invisible Man (Universal) Trolls World Tour (Universal) – available on April 10, 2020 Delayed Theatrical Releases Mulan (Disney) – July 24, 2020 The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run (Paramount) – July 31, 2020 Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.) – August 14, 2020 A Quiet Place II (Paramount) – September 4, 2020 Candyman (TriStar) – September 25, 2020 The French Dispatch (Searchlight) – July 24, 2020 Black Widow (Disney) – November 6, 2020 No Time to Die (MGM) – November 25, 2020 Free Guy (20th Century) – December 11, 2020 Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) – December 23, 2020 Fatherhood (Sony) – January 15, 2021 Peter Rabbit II (Sony) – January 15, 2021 The Eternals (Disney) – February 12, 2021 Nobody (Universal) – February 21, 2021 Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Sony) – March 5, 2021 Morbius (Sony) – March 19, 2021 F9 (Universal) – April 2, 2021 Bob’s Burgers (20th Century) – April 9, 2021 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Rings (Disney) – May 7, 2021 Minions: The Rise of Gru (Universal) – July 2, 2021 Jungle Cruise (Disney) – July 30, 2021 Uncharted (Sony) – October 8, 2021 Doctor Strange and the Multioverse of Madness (Disney) – November 5, 2021 Sing 2 (Universal) – December 22, 2021 Thor: Love and Thunder (Disney) – February 18, 2022 Captain Marvel 2 (Disney) – July 8, 2022 (moved up) Untitled Indiana Jones film (Disney) – July 29, 2022
Antebellum (Lionsgate) Antlers (Searchlight) Greyhound (Sony) In the Heights (Warner Bros.) The Lovebirds (Paramount) – Paramount sold this movie to Netflix, which hasn’t announced a new release date Malignant (Warner Bros.) The New Mutants (20th Century) The Personal History of David Copperfield (Searchlight) The Tomorrow War (Paramount) Run (Lionsgate) Spiral (Lionsgate) Scoob! (Warner Bros.) Wicked (Universal) Woman in the Window (20th Century)
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