The cascading house of cards that is the 2020 studio movie release calendar hit another nadir on Thursday, as Walt Disney Studios pushed both “Death on the Nile” and “Free Guy” off of December into the land of the undated. That leaves Disney-owned Searchlight Pictures’ big Oscar hopeful “Nomadland,” dated December 4, as the only movie still standing from the studio this year.
Kenneth Branagh’s Agatha Christie adaptation “Death on the Nile” was originally set to open October 23, but moved to December 18 earlier this fall. Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ star-packed mystery is now determined as “unset,” according to an email from Disney representatives sent Thursday, as is the Ryan Reynolds action comedy “Free Guy,” which was set for release December 11.
In recent weeks, Disney shuffled its Pixar entry “Soul” to open straight on Disney+ on Christmas Day, canceling an intended Thanksgiving corridor release. “Soul” is also in the mix for Academy Awards buzz.
The only major studio picture still on the line for release this year is “Wonder Woman 1984,” director Patty Jenkins’ action tentpole sequel from Warner Bros., currently scheduled to open in theaters Christmas Day.
Still, Searchlight’s “Nomadland” remains in play as a major Academy Awards contender for director Chloé Zhao and star Frances McDormand.
Theaters in major markets like New York City and Los Angeles remain shuttered, and it’s a grim season as the year’s most hotly anticipated late-in-the-year offerings have now been pushed off into 2021 or even further.
Disney delayed a wave of major blockbusters in September, with Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” going December 10, 2021, instead of December 18, 2020. Marvel tentpole “Black Widow,” starring Scarlett Johansson in the title role, was set to debut November 6 of this year, but Disney pushed it to May 7, 2021.
Another comic-book adventure delayed this year by Disney is “Eternals,” from “Nomadland” director Zhao, now debuting November 5, 2021 instead of its previous date of February 12, 2021. Meanwhile, Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Marvel’s first cinematic entry to feature an Asian lead with star Simu Liu, will now bow on July 9 next year instead of May 7.