Hollywood Prepares to Delay ‘No Time To Die’, ‘Black Widow’ and Other Blockbusters

COVID-19 continues to ravage the movie industry.

bond-black-widow-2
MGM/Marvel

COVID-19 is still hurting Hollywood’s bottom line. Variety reports that a number of major 2021 movie premieres—many already delayed a few times—will once again be delayed. Titles mentioned in the article include Daniel Craig‘s oft-delayed final Bond movie, No Time To Die, and Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow.

The reason? Even though there are multiple coronavirus vaccines available, vaccinations aren’t happening fast and in some places are simply not available in enough quantity to inoculate enough people and make going out in public safe again.

Scarlett Johansson in “Black Widow” trailer

Here’s more from Variety:

Nobody expected mass immunization overnight, but with vaccinations being administered at a crawl in the U.S., it now looks like Warner Bros. may have been forward-thinking in acknowledging the box office’s slow return.

Numerous films remain on the release calendar for early 2021, yet cases of the virus in many areas are higher than ever and approximately 65% of U.S. theaters — including those in popular markets like New York and Los Angeles — remain closed. Getting back to the movies in any normal fashion seems as unrealistic today as it did last March when cinemas across the nation were shuttered.

Warner Bros. was widely ridiculed in 2020 when the studio announced it would premiere all its 2021 releases simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.

Variety goes on to list films expected to see delays from planned winter releases this year:

  • Sony’s Cinderella starring Camila Cabello (Feb. 5),
  • Disney and 20th Century’s The King’s Man (March 12) 
  • Jared Leto’s superhero thriller Morbius (March 19) 

Variety goes on to note major tentpole movies with set late spring and early summer 2021 premiere dates that “are expected to shift as well if conditions don’t drastically improve in the next month or so.”

  • Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow (May 7) 
  • Godzilla vs Kong (May 21)
  • Ryan Reynolds’ Free Guy from 20th Century Studios (May 21) 
  • Mark Wahlberg-starring Infinite from Paramount (May 28)
  • Disney’s Cruella with Emma Stone (May 28)  
  • Fast and Furious sequel F9 from Universal Studios (May 28)
Vin Diesel, still from “F9”

Then there are the big-budget movies. Anything with a budget in excess of $200 million will find it “nearly impossible” to turn a profit now, according to Variety, and even though many have been repeatedly delayed, they are likely to move again. 

Variety singles out MGM’s No Time To Die, which is currently set to hit theaters on April 2, 2021, after several delays. Unless vaccination rates skyrocket, it seems the latest 007  “will likely vacate” that date and be moved again.  

While it seems likely other studios will end up adopting the Warner Bros. approach, the chances for many highly anticipated titles to be delayed again are pretty high. Daniel Craig himself might end up retiring before No Time To Die finally settles on a date. 

And considering that the coronavirus pandemic is still exploding in some places and new, sometimes much more easily-transmitted variants on the pathogen pop up weekly, no one will throw caution to the wind regarding gathering in public places like theaters any time soon.

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Deputy Digital Editor, Maxim.com