2020 is a lost year for the movies.
Hollywood, like many industries, has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Movie theaters were forced to shut down for months, and have struggled to find an audience since reopening. Productions have stalled, and blockbuster releases have been rescheduled.
The year started with a surprising amount of promise, however. Sony’s “Bad Boys For Life” and Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” kicked off 2020 with unexpectedly strong box office returns. The schedule for the rest of the year included potential blockbusters like a new James Bond movie, a live action remake of “Mulan” and the return of the Ghostbusters.
But all of those films were either delayed, pushed to next year or skipped US theaters entirely because of the pandemic. This has left cineplexes with a bleak and uncertain future. (Track how box-office sales have been hit on our recovery dashboard.)
With new films seemingly being shifted around every day, it’s been hard to keep up. Here’s where things stand now.
Movies delayed to later this year
“No Time to Die”
The latest chapter in the James Bond series was the first major film to be delayed because of coronavirus. The film, which is now set to open on November 20, was originally slated for release on April 10.
Pixar’s new animated film about a jazz player separated from his soul was pushed back from June 19 to November 20.
Originally set to open in July, Christopher Nolan’s twisty thriller was delayed multiple times before opening internationally first in August. It then opened with a rough start in the US on September 3.
“Wonder Woman 1984”
The sequel to the 2017 hit, expected to be one of the biggest films of the year, has bounced around the calendar moving from June to August to October to Christmas.
Movies that moved to next year
“Black Widow” was supposed to be one of the year’s biggest blockbusters, reinforcing Marvel’s perch as one of the most reliable brands at the box office. Coronavirus changed all of that. The film, which was originally meant to be released in May, was pushed to November before being delayed to May 7, 2021 — roughly a year after it was supposed to debut.
The delay of “Black Widow” kicked off a bit of a domino effect for the other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Eternals,” which was supposed to hit theaters in November then February, is now premiering on November 5, 2021.
“Top Gun: Maverick”
The sequel to 1986’s “Top Gun” was cleared for takeoff on June 24 before being delayed until December 23. Paramount delayed it again until July 2, 2021.
The ninth installment of the “Fast & Furious” franchise didn’t play the rescheduling game. As soon as coronavirus took hold, Universal immediately pushed the film’s release from May 22 to April 2, 2021.
The return of the Ghostbusters was supposed to take place on July 10, but Sony (SNE) moved the film to March 5, 2021.
“A Quiet Place Part II”
“A Quiet Place Part II” came close to opening in the middle of the pandemic with a release date set for March 20. Paramount moved the film to September before moving it again to April 23, 2021.
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage”
The sequel to the 2018 blockbuster was supposed to be one of the biggest hits for Sony in 2020. Now the studio will have to settle for it being a hit next year when it opens on June 25, 2021.
Universal delayed the horror film starring masked killer Michael Myers a year to October 15, 2021.
“West Side Story”
Steven Spielberg’s take on the musical street fight between the Jets and the Sharks was set to open around the holidays on December 18. Now, it’s still set for a holiday release, but not until next year, on December 10, 2021.
Movies that skipped theaters for digital
“Trolls World Tour”
“Trolls World Tour” may not be as big as the other films on this list, but its impact might be. Universal announced in March that the film would be skipping its April release date by going directly to digital. The move raised questions about the future of movies and streaming and even led to a tiff between AMC (AMC) Theatres, which is the biggest movie chain in the world, and Universal.
No movie better reflects the film industry’s tumultuous 2020 than “Mulan.” Disney’s live action remake of the 1998 animated classic was delayed multiple times before the studio decided to release the film on Disney+ for $30 or in markets where the streaming service isn’t available. The film, which caused a sizable backlash online, opened to lackluster results in China and yet unknown results on Disney+.