Good news for families! Those movies you wanted to see in theater are (mostly) going to be hitting home video or streaming super early. With public gatherings heavily discouraged or outright banned across the country, distributors are releasing some of their new titles to the only venue accessible to most people during the coronavirus pandemic: the living room.
Disney pushed a ton of new family-friendly fare already released in theaters to Disney+ early, everything from Onward, which was only in theaters for a month, to Frozen II to Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. Artemis Fowl skipped theaters altogether, and Hamilton will do the same when it hits the service more than a year before it was due to come to theaters.
Other films released just before the pandemic, including Birds of Prey, also came to on-demand earlier than expected.
And now, the bad news. The other option for studios is to delay the release of their films in the hopes that the crisis abates and theaters reopen by the later date. It’s one that they’re choosing quite often, particularly for summer blockbusters, and it’s one that’s caused domino effects for other titles.
Disney has officially delayed every Star Wars and Avatar film scheduled for release between 2021 and 2027 by one year. Now, the next Avatar film is slated for 2022 and the next Star Wars feature will come in 2023. Mulan, the live-action remake of the animated film was delayed multiple times before Disney finally pulled it off the schedule, what amounts to an indefinite delay.
Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was something of a lodestar for the industry, with the powerful (and theater-obsessed) director pushing hard to hold to the original July 17 release date. It was delayed for two weeks and then indefinitely, a depressing sign for those of us who love the big screen.
Wonder Woman 1984 was delayed from July to August, but Warner Bros. pushed it back again, all the way to October 2. The studio also pushed the fourth Matrix movie from May 2021 to April 2022, and slotted Godzilla vs. Kong into the old date.
The Batman, Robert Pattinson’s premiere turn as Bruce Wayne is a much bigger blockbuster, so it’s not shocking that it’s sticking to a theatrical first release. Originally on the books for June 25 of next year, it’s now slated to hit theaters on October 1.
The MCU’s phase four has also taken 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 11, 2022.
The New Mutants got its fifth (!) release date, moving from April 3 to August 28. The X-Men spin-off was rumored to be destined for Hulu, but Disney — which didn’t even own Fox when the first trailer for this movie came out in 2017 — wants to keep in in theaters, for now.
Minions: The Rise of Gru was pushed a year to Fourth 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.
There’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+
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Disney+
- Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Pyramide Films) – Hulu
- The Lovebirds (Paramount) – Netflix
- Artemis Fowl (Disney) – Disney+
- Hamilton (Disney) – Disney+ (premieres July)
- Greyhound (Sony) – Apple TV+ (premieres July 10)
- The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run (Paramount) – CBS All Access (premieres early 2021)
On Video-On-Demand Services Early
- Birds of Prey (Warner Bros.)
- Call of the Wild (20th Century)
- Capone (Vertical Entertainment)
- Downhill (Searchlight)
- Emma (Focus Features)
- The Gentlemen (STX Films)
- The King of Staten Island (Universal)
- The Hunt (Universal)
- The Invisible Man (Universal)
- Scoob! (Warner Bros.)
- Trolls World Tour (Universal)
- Bill and Ted Face the Music (United Artists) – September 1
Delayed Theatrical Releases
- Unhinged (Solstice Studios) – August 2020
- The Personal History of David Copperfield (Searchlight) – August 28, 2020
- The New Mutants (20th Century) – August 28, 2020
- Antebellum (Lionsgate) – August 21, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.) – October 2, 2020
- Candyman (TriStar) – October 16, 2020
- The French Dispatch (Searchlight) – October 16, 2020
- Black Widow (Disney) – November 6, 2020
- No Time to Die (MGM) – November 25, 2020
- Free Guy (20th Century) – December 11, 2020
- The Tomorrow War (Paramount) – December 25, 2020
- Fatherhood (Sony) – January 15, 2021
- Peter Rabbit II (Sony) – January 15, 2021
- The Eternals (Disney) – February 12, 2021
- Nobody (Universal) – February 26, 2021
- The Many Saints of Newark (Warner Bros.) – March 12, 2021
- Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Sony) – March 5, 2021
- Morbius (Sony) – March 19, 2021
- F9 (Universal) – April 2, 2021
- A Quiet Place II (Paramount) – April 23, 2021
- Bob’s Burgers (20th Century) – April 9, 2021
- Ron’s Gone Wrong (20th Century) – April 23, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Rings (Disney) – May 7, 2021
- Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner Bros.) – May 21, 2021
- Spiral (Lionsgate) – May 21, 2021
- Infinite (Paramount) – May 28, 2021
- In the Heights (Warner Bros.) – June 18, 2021
- Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Sony) – June 25, 2021
- Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) – July 1, 2021
- Minions: The Rise of Gru (Universal) – July 2, 2021
- Jackass (Paramount) – July 2, 2021
- Jungle Cruise (Disney) – July 30, 2021
- The Batman (Warner Bros.) – October 1, 2021
- Uncharted (Sony) – October 8, 2021
- Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (Disney) – November 5, 2021
- Tom Hanks Elvis Presley biopic (Warner Bros.) – November 5, 2021
- Untitled Spider-Man film (Sony) – November 5, 2021
- King Richard (Warner Bros.) – November 19, 2021
- Sing 2 (Universal) – December 22, 2021
- Wicked (Universal) – December 22, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (Disney) – February 11, 2022
- Untitled Matrix film (Warner Bros.) – April 2, 2022
- The Flash (Warner Bros.) – June 2, 2022 (moved up)
- Captain Marvel 2 (Disney) – July 8, 2022 (moved up)
- Untitled Indiana Jones film (Disney) – July 29, 2022
- Shazam 2 (Warner Bros.) – November 4, 2022
- Antlers (Searchlight)
- Malignant (Warner Bros.)
- Mulan (Disney)
- Run (Lionsgate)
- Tenet (Warner Bros.)
- Woman in the Window (20th Century)