I’m starting to think the summer movie season is canceled this year. Sony Pictures has announced that they are pushing their summer releases MORBIUS & GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The studio also announced other release date shifts for more films on their schedule as well.
MORBIUS, which was slated for release on July 31, will now open on March 19, 2021. GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE, set for release on July 10, is moving to March 5, 2021. Is Sony panicking or just be cautious? I’m leaning toward the latter because all the news about the coronavirus pandemic has pointed to the fact that the United States hasn’t peaked yet in terms of the total spread of the virus. We don’t know when cinemas will reopen and we don’t know when productions will get back to work. Sony did this as insurance because these are two tentpole titles that simply couldn’t take the chance on losing the bulk of their audience by maintaining their current uncertain release dates. Q1 and Q2 of 2021 are going to need big hits to make up for all the delays that have taken place the last few weeks so Sony is hoping that both of these films will make up some ground when they open next year. It seems like doom and gloom now but this will ultimately be the right choice for both films.
Because of the GHOSTBUSTERS move to March 5, 2021, Tom Holland‘s doomed to never come out, UNCHARTED, had to move off of that date and will now open on October 8, 2021. The video game adaptation is basically the next THE NEW MUTANTS in terms of all the woes that have prevented it from getting off the ground but at least THE NEW MUTANTS managed to get into production. UNCHARTED is currently on pause until it’s safe for filming on these projects to start up again. Tom Holland and Sony are likely going to have the same problem with the third MCU SPIDER-MAN film which was reportedly supposed to start shooting this summer but given the current state of affairs, I doubt that’s happening as well.
The only Sony scheduling shift that didn’t seem like a negative response to COVID-19 was Kevin Hart‘s FATHERHOOD. The film, helmed by Paul Weitz, is actually moving up from January 15, 2021, to October 23, 2020. PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, which already moved to August 7 because of COVID-19, is moving again to January 15, 2021 to occupy the vacate Kevin Hart date. Tom Hanks’ World War II drama GREYHOUND, also released by Sony, was taken off the schedule indefinitely from its June release date.
These are likely very smart financial decisions but as a movie fan it’s sad to see the summer movie season just dwindling away. As of now, due to the various delays, the first major release to open in theaters if they decide to reopen and if this is all over, is Paramount’s THE SPONGE BOB MOVIE: SPONGE ON THE RUN over Memorial Day weekend. TOP GUN: MAVERICK hasn’t moved from June 24 while Christopher Nolan‘s TENET is still slated for July 17. Dwayne Johnson & Emily Blunt also have Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE on July 24 but I’m not confident any of these films will come out this summer, unless they want to try to wait it out and see if this takes a positive turn by May. WONDER WOMAN 1984 recently moved from June to August 14 & so far it looks like the only sure thing unless this pandemic gets worse.
Do YOU think it was wise for Sony to shift its release schedule?