Two more of the Disney stable’s movies have fallen victim to the ongoing coronavirus disruptions, Entertainment Weekly reports.
Shawn Levy’s sci-fi action comedy Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds, had been set for release on December 11th. It’s currently in limbo. The other Disney release is Death On The Nile. Kenneth Branagh’s star studded sequel to Murder On The Orient Express was due up on December 18th. That too is currently without a new release date. Both films are from Disney’s 20th Century.
Disney has previously transferred Mulan and Artemis Fowl directly to their Disney + streaming service – having to take a huge drop in expected revenue. Now with the coronavirus’ continuing disruptions, many are left wondering whether these latest delayed releases will end up debuting on the service too.
Universal’s Freaky and Universal/Dreamworks Animation’s sequel Croods: The New Age are still slated for cinema releases, after Universal made a deal with AMC cinemas to shorten the showing window so the films can move more quickly to PVOD.
Moviegoing has felt the effects of COVID-19 worldwide, with cinemas in many countries remaining shut. Even films like Christopher Nolan’s effects showpiece Tenet didn’t take audiences by the storm expected, despite it being one of the very few cinema releases at the time. The mixed reviews didn’t help footfall, as people judged it just wasn’t worth risking their health for.
Around 55% of US cinemas are still closed, hitting the big-market areas of New York and Los Angeles badly.
In Europe, many cinema chains re-opened under strict distancing and cleaning regimes. But with a surge of new COVID cases all over Europe, and mutated strains leaking out of Spain and potentially Denmark, cinemas have shut down once more.
In the UK, the Cineworld chain took the decision at the end of October to close their cinemas for the foreseeable future, sadly laying off staff. They hope to pick up where they left off once the pandemic has subsided, been brought under control, or an effective vaccine means they can re-open with a reasonable chance of success.
Smaller and art-house cinemas are, conversely, in some places weathering the COVID storm better by offering reduced houses showing older and classic films. Without the massive overheads of the huge multiplexes, these smaller cinemas may be better placed to survive.
However, as much of Europe and several US states move back into full lockdown, the streaming services may well find themselves back in a position to hook customers denied to cinemas.
Currently, the only blockbuster offering still on the books is Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman: 1984, which is still slated for release on December 25th. However, at this rate, it is possible that the film could find itself without a cinema to open in.
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