As Hollywood looks forward to resuming business as usual, it may be a while. Late Monday, Sony revealed new 2021 dates for their four summer releases. The studio has also pushed back three other moves. Like so much these days, this wholesale overhaul of a release schedule would have been unthinkable even a month ago.
Three of the Sony summer titles are moving to first quarter 2021, led by Sony’s latest “Ghostbusters” franchise entry, “Morbius,” starring Jared Leto, and sequel “Peter Rabbit 2.” Tom Hanks World War II drama “Greyhound” is floating for now. Sony moved Kevin Hart drama “Fatherhood” from January 2021 to October, while pushing back two other 2021 entries.
These moves reveal that studios lack trust that theaters will be fully open this summer. A handful of top titles from earlier in the season have now been reset to 2021, also possibly due to production delays.
Here’s the tentative new Sony schedule:
“Greyhound” moves from 6/12/2020 to undated.
“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” moves from 7/10/2020 to 3/5/2021.
“Morbius” moves from 7/31/2020 to 3/19/2021.
“Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” moves from 8/7/2020 to 1/15/2021.
“Fatherhood” drama starring Kevin Hart moves from 1/15/2021 to 10/23/2020.
“Uncharted” moves from 3/5/21 to 10/8/2021.
“Untitled Sony Marvel” moves from 10/8/2021 to TBD
As of now, four key studio titles are still filling summer slots, but that may change: “Soul” (Disney/Pixar, June 19), “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount, June 24), “Tenet” (Warner Bros., July 17), and “Wonder Woman 1984” (Warner Bros., August 14), which moved from June to late summer.
More reshuffling of the studio deck is still to come, as distribution executives react to changing news. Making a decisive claim on a later date can be an advantage — Universal is looking prescient for moving the latest “Fast & Furious” movie back one year.
This fall/winter season is shaping up to be a bloodbath with multiple titles competing against each other for audiences that may or may not be ready to return to multiplexes. Moving later also gives studios enough time to line up all the necessary pre-release marketing campaigns with talent on board.
This is just the beginning. Everyone will be watching carefully for signs that moviegoers are ready to return to theaters.