Following disappointing box office returns of big-budget releases like “Tenet” and “Mulan,” Disney is pushing back the release of the Marvel stand-alone film “Black Widow,” as well as a slew of other titles, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The superhero film starring Scarlett Johansson will now hit theaters May 7, 2021, after it was already delayed to November from its original May 1, 2020 release date, the studio announced on Wednesday, according to Variety.
The resulting domino effect will push the next entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Eternals,” further into the calendar year, with the films launching on July 9, 2021 and November 5, 2021, respectively.
“Eternals” star Kumail Nanjiani was quick to comment on the news, commending the studio on the decision, given the current public health crisis.
“Marvel made the right & responsible decision. There’s a pandemic. Nothing is more important than health & lives,” he wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “I can’t tell ppl to go to a movie theater until I feel safe going to one. Take care of yourselves. I promise it’ll be worth the wait!”
As it stands now, no more Marvel films will be released this year, significantly upending plans for Phase Four of the interconnected superhero universe.
As for the non-Marvel films on Disney’s slate, Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” will now arrive in theaters a year later than anticipated on December 10, 2021, instead of December 18, 2020. Kenneth Branagh’s latest stab at the Agatha Christie mysteries, “Death on the Nile” will also be impacted in the reshuffling, moving from October to December 18 of this year.
Ana De Armas and Ben Affleck’s erotic thriller, “Deep Water,” has been delayed as well, moved from November 2020 to August 13, 2021.
The only Disney film that remains untouched is the upcoming Pixar release “Soul,” which is still scheduled to debut in November, although the studio is rumored to be considering premiering the animated film on its Disney+ streaming service.
In recent weeks, a number of highly anticipated films have also been delayed, including Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman 1984” and Nia DaCosta’s horror remake “Candyman.”
The decision to delay the fall blockbusters is a devastating blow to the film industry and theater operators, as new films will become even more scare in the coming months. Many had hoped that the Sept. 4 release of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” might lure viewers back to cinemas, but the action film underperformed at the domestic box office with a North American gross of only $36.1 million since opening. “Tenet,” however, has fared better internationally, raking in $214 million since it opened in theaters in August.
Now, only one major film remains on the scrubbed schedule: the latest James Bond movie, “No Time to Die,” which is still set to arrive in November.