A closer look

Present and future summer movie seasons postponed due to COVID-19

TaLeah Van Sistine

More stories from Ta'Leah Van Sistine

Life in the city
November 17, 2021
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Summer movie season has historically been the most profitable time for the film industry, but now several blockbuster movie release dates have been pushed back because of COVID-19.

Sony Pictures and The Walt Disney Co. announced on April 24 that their superhero sequels, which were originally scheduled to release in the summer and fall of 2021, will now be delayed

Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is now slated to premiere in March 2022 instead of November 2021. 

The third untitled live-action Spider-Man movie — starring Tom Holland — has been pushed back from July 2021 to November 2021. Sony’s sequel to the animated “Spider-Verse” film has also been moved from April 2022 to October 2022. 

However, for weeks now, many films that were scheduled to release this summer have been pushed back as well to later this year or until 2021. 

Sony and several other movie studios all announced new release dates, or to-be-determined release dates, for their summer 2020 films by March 30.

Here is a list of some of the summer films that have had their release dates rescheduled:

  •  “Antebellum” (Lionsgate)
    • Original U.S. release date: April 24
    • New U.S. release date: TBD
  • “Black Widow” (Disney) 
    • Original U.S. release date: May 1
    • New U.S. release date: Nov. 6
  •  “The Personal History of David Copperfield” (Disney/Searchlight Pictures)
    • Original U.S. release date: May 8
    • New U.S. release date: TBD
  • “Scoob” (Warner Bros.)
    • Original U.S. release date: May 15
    • New U.S. release date: None because Warner Bros. will now debut Scoob as an on-demand digital rental on May 15
  • “Artemis Fowl” (Disney)
    • Original U.S. release date: May 29
    • New U.S. release date: June 12 on Disney+
  •  “Wonder Woman 1984” (Warner Bros.)
    • Original U.S. release date: June 5
    • New U.S. release date: Aug. 14
  •  “Candyman” (Universal)
    • Original U.S. release date: June 12
    • New U.S. release date: Sept. 25
  • “Soul” (Disney)
    • Original U.S. release date: June 19
    • New U.S. release date: Nov. 20
  • “In the Heights” (Warner Bros.)
    • Original U.S. release date: June 26
    • New U.S. release date: June 21, 2021
  • “Minions: The Rise of Gru” (Universal)
    • Original U.S. release date: July 3
    • New U.S. release date: July 2, 2021
  •  “Free Guy” (Disney/20th Century Studios)
    • Original U.S. release date: July 3
    • New U.S. release date: Dec. 11
  • “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (Sony)
    • Original U.S. release date: July 10
    • New U.S. release date: March 5, 2021

The movie studios’ announcements made it clear that theaters would continue to be mostly vacant this summer, since Sony was one of the last studios to reschedule their films, right behind Disney, Warner Bros. and Universal who had already done so.

“When Sony pulled the plug on their films, that signaled the end of any hope of a summer movie season,” Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations, said in an interview with Variety. “If magically a vaccine comes out in June, then maybe that won’t be the case, but I don’t really expect that to happen.”

According to an article from Variety, the film industry makes roughly 40 percent of “its annual revenues between May and August,” bringing in about $4 billion each year, so having no summer blockbusters could have a tremendous impact on the business. 

However, drive-in theaters have seen an unexpected revival since the pandemic. Whether these theaters will be permitted to open throughout the summer is still uncertain. 

Van Sistine can be reached at [email protected].