Over this pandemic, we’ve seen movie dates being shifted all over the calendar. Like chess pieces on the board, planned blockbusters that would have packed theaters have been pushed from last year to this current to 2022. But after Warner Bros. announcement at the end of last year to have their movies simultaneously released in the theaters and on HBO Max, the question arises: When do you move to stream movies on Netflix, Hulu or on demand?
Reading about Daniel Craig’s last 007 adventure, No Time To Die, has been moved to October of this year and a recent article in Variety that Sony films has delayed Camila Cabello’s Cinderella, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Uncharted, and now with Jared Leto’s Morbius being delayed once again to 2022, it has me thinking about why other studios did not think further ahead before the new year.
Yes, some did by moving their movies to dates where maybe restrictions would be lifted and more audiences could come into the theaters, especially in larger markets such as California and New York. But as the pandemic continues to evolve and we enter the deep “second act” of this national and global emergency, other preparations should begin being made for these popcorn blockbusters. 2020 delayed films already pack a crowded field of already planned 2021 movies and if these films continue to be delayed, audiences might care less and forget they were made until release.
Friday, Disney shifted other movies on the calendar with 20th Century Films moving The King’s Man from March 12 to August 20 and Bob’s Burgers completely off of the release calendar entirely. A Quiet Place: Part II has moved a third time to September 17. Disney has made no mention of Black Widow, hoping to have a packed theater again for the first MCU film of Phase 4.However, the pandemic currently is showing no signs of improving as we move into February. At this point, Disney should consider moving the Scarlett Johansson prequel film onto Disney Plus, even if it needs to be Premier Access like they did with last year’s Mulan. It would be the best way to possibly make up for the lost money by not releasing the film into a packed movie house.
Disney already has plans to follow Warner Bros. model with Raya and the Last Dragon, releasing it both in theaters and on Disney Plus with Premier Access. Even if they need to do that with all of their films, I think it is the best course of action. When the tide turns in the pandemic, you are already covered for those who want to return to the theaters , such as myself, along with those who want to watch the movies at home.
Some movie theaters have reopened around the country with limited audiences and safety precautions to protect moviegoers. However, with the surge of COVID-19 infections in the United States, moviegoers have been slow to return. In turn, studios still feel uncomfortable releasing their buzziest movies onto the silver screen. Those theaters that have been open have struggled to sell tickets to a wary crowd.
Other studios are exploring other avenues as the military science-fiction film, The Tomorrow War, is in final talks to be bought by Amazon Studios. The Woman in the Window, starring Amy Adams, has already been bought by Netflix and scheduled for its long-awaited release this year. As new streaming platforms are cropping up, more people are content with staying at home to watch new releases as it doesn’t stay on the silver screen as long as it used to.
I miss going to the theaters so much and enjoying the reclining seats, but it doesn’t feel right without a large crowd to cheer and enjoy the action, emotions displayed by the characters as the movie unfolds scene by scene. Maybe one day, I’ll return to theaters but with these delayed blockbuster releases and the possibility of them being bought by Netflix, Hulu, or Disney Plus, I’m feeling more hesitant in going back.
What are your thoughts on the changing entertainment industry as streaming services and video on demand becoming a viable second option for blockbusters to be released?
Do you feel safe going back to theaters right now with its mixture of old and new films on the screen?
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