Walt Disney Co. is delaying the release of several movies, including its highly anticipated Marvel spinoff “Black Widow,” by six months in the latest sign Hollywood’s top movie studio remains wary of releasing big-budget films amid the fractured theatrical landscape.
Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, from 20th Century and Amblin, is being delayed almost an entire year, and is moving from Dec. 18 to Dec. 10, 2021. Disney isn’t giving up its seat at the 2020 Christmas table entirely and is relocating 20th Century’s Death on the Nile from Oct. 23 to Dec. 18.
Black Widow’s exit from the early November calendar is bad news for exhibitors who need tentpoles as they reopen. One bit of good news for theater owners: Pixar’s Soul is sticking to its Nov. 20, 2020 theatrical release date, while 20th Century’s Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds, is keeping its Dec. 11, 2020 date. Nor were any of the films mentioned in Tuesday’s announcement being sent to Disney+, as Mulan was.
The latest round of changes to Disney’s calendar underscores the continuing challenges facing the box office amid the ongoing pandemic, as well as production delays. They also follow the muted box office performance of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet in the U.S.