If you’ve ventured out to the movie theaters recently, you may have noticed that there are no new movies currently playing in the cinemas, nor have there been since March. The only films showing in theaters have either already been released, or were released online during the lockdowns for people to rent and watch at home for the bargain price of around two cinema tickets. And there’s a very good reason for that.
Hollywood producers spend millions of dollars making big budget films, and typically, they try to earn it all back in the box office on opening weekend. They prime their audiences with trailers, whetting their appetites and expectations to see the latest action, drama, comedy, and indie films. By the time opening weekend finally comes around, audiences across the globe flock to the theaters and sell out shows. But with cinemas closed around the world, and those that are open operating at very limited capacities, the return on their investment is looking pretty scary. So they’re doing what any stock market trader would do. They are biding their time and waiting for the opportune moment to sell their stock.
The most anticipated movies of the year have been put on hold because of the pandemic, but hey, they say that good things come to those who wait, right?
Wonder Woman 1984
Arguably DC’s strongest new franchise since Christopher Nolan was directing Batman, fans of the Amazon superhero have been waiting with bated breath for the new Wonder Woman sequel since they saw the credits scrolling on the first one. Wonder Woman 1984 was supposed to be released June 2020, but on March 24th, Warner Brothers pushed back the opening to August 2020 and later pushed it back once more to October 2, 2020, where it currently sits while all the world is waiting for her.
No Time To Die
Perhaps the first blockbuster to delay its movie release, the highly anticipated new James Bond movie, No Time to Die, was supposed to hit theaters worldwide this past April. However, producers moved the release date to November 2020 one week before the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic. And while we are chomping at the bit to see this film every time we hear the new Billie Eilish single, maybe the delaying of Daniel Craig’s final foray as Agent 007 is a blessing in disguise.
Top Gun: Maverick
They finally made a sequel to the iconic Tom Cruise movie from the 80s, and if 34 years wasn’t enough of a wait, why not just tack on a few more months? Originally slated to be released in June of 2020, Maverick was pushed back to December 23, 2020. Will we be doing anything else that day but heading straight to the theaters (assuming they’re open)? That’s a negative, Ghost Rider. Ready, Wingman?
Disney’s most recent live-action reboot of an animated classic got hit in the jugular when the powers that be pulled the plug on the release two weeks before it was originally slated to open in March. Audiences were primed and ready for the Disney warrior princess, and critics and preview audiences had already had the preliminary sneak peeks. Mixed reviews had emerged on the internet, from “majestic” to “dismal” mounting the anticipation to see the film even more before it fizzled out like Mushu’s fire. As it stands, Mulan is slated to open in August 2020, but we fear that may be slightly optimistic.
Mission Impossible 7 & 8
Filming in Venice of the seventh installment of the spy franchise was put on hold February 24, pushing back its original release date of July 28, 2020 to November 2021. This, in turn, pushes the release date of MI8 to November 2022. We didn’t think anything could top Mr. Cruise climbing the Burj Khalifa in the middle of a sandstorm in the last Mission Impossible, but now we have to wait over a year to see what crazy situations Ethan Hunt finds himself in next.
In The Heights
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway hit, In The Heights, was adapted for film and was supposed to hit the big screen this past June. Instead, we were given Hamilton on Disney+ to tide us over until its new release date of June 18, 2021. The adaptation is directed by Jon M. Chu (who also worked on Crazy Rich Asians) and stars Hamilton alum, Anthony Ramos.
Elvis Presley Biopic
While the world revolted when coronavirus took our beloved Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, hostage in Australia, Baz Luhrmann was forced to delay filming for his new Elvis Presley biopic as Hanks plays Colonel Tom Parker in the film. They have both since recovered, and the movie was only pushed back by a month from October to November 5, 2021. Thank you. Thank you very much.
The Entire Marvel Universe
This one is tricky as the Marvel Cinematic Universe is very particular about when they release their films. Every single movie is connected to one or more films in the universe in one way or another, so they carefully weave their web of stories, placing breadcrumbs in new releases without giving away spoilers to build their world. Black Widow (starring Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanov) was supposed to be released May 1, 2020 (most likely to not compete directly with Wonder Woman), but has now been pushed back to November 6, 2020.
This moves Eternals to February 12, 2021 and Shang-Chi and the 10 Rings to May 7, 2021. Obviously that means that Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness can no longer open in May 2021, and will now open on March 25, 2022. However, Black Panther 2 seems to be safe in its original spot on May 8, 2022 (the citizens of Wakanda have probably already created a vaccine for the virus anyway), but Captain Marvel 2 fell victim to the reshuffle and was pushed to July 8, 2022.
Christopher Nolan’s new time-bending thriller clung for dear life to its summer release date of July 17, only to lose its gamble in the end. Warner Bros. called it in June, however, they have yet to release a new date for the premiere, since most of the weekends left in 2020 are already full of blockbusters. And the last thing Warner Bros. wants to do is compete against its own films or other major blockbusters at the Box Office on an opening weekend. International audiences may end up seeing the film before it opens in the US if Warner Bros. decides to stagger the opening across different countries whose cinemas are already open. Then again, they would be gambling on the fact that audiences will feel comfortable gathering in an enclosed space. As it is now, opening here in Dubai — where cinemas are still at 30% capacity — wouldn’t exactly give them the biggest bang for their buck, but we can still hope that we will see it soon.