Well, it’s happened. As the past few weeks of industry rumblings had predicted, Disney has delayed Black Widow. The upcoming Marvel blockbuster starring Scarlet Johannsson’s super-spy was supposed to release on 6 November, having already been pushed back from its initial May window due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is now being bumped all the way to 7 May 2021.
It had been reported recently that Disney had been considering rescheduling Black Widow following Tenet’s less-than-favourable box office returns and Wonder Woman’s delay to mid-December, giving Warner Bros. a one-two punch combo over the festive season with Dune releasing on Christmas day. Part of those reports had been that the House of Mouse was also considering moving Pixar’s Soul to a streaming release on Disney+, but instead the animated film is being kept in its 20 November theatrical slot.
While Soul stays where it is though, Black Widow being pushed back causes a chain reaction of delays for the bulk of Disney’s major release slate. Staying with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Eternals, which had already seen Black Widow take its original November slot to push it to February 2021 earlier in the year, is now shifting to all the way back to 5 November 2021. Damn, that’s a huge change! Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings fared a lot better though, as it only got delayed from May to 9 July 2021.
It’s not just Marvel films that got shuffled around though. Death on the Nile, director/star Kenneth Branagh’s star-studded follow-up to his 2017 Agatha Christie murder mystery hit Murder on the Orient Express, is vacating its 23 October slot and will now hit screens on 18 December 2020. That date was originally held by West Side Story, the Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of the iconic stage musical, but it now finds itself being pushed back a whole year to December 2021.
This will most definitely not be the last delays we hear about over the next few months. With countries around the world experiencing second waves of COVID-19 and going into further lockdown, the theatrical experience is still very much in flux right now. Warner Bros’ experimental release of Tenet has shown that rushing back to the cinemas is not the smartest move right now.
Last Updated: September 25, 2020