If it hadn’t been inevitable before, I think it’s pretty safe to call it now. The 2020 box office is a bust. Thanks to national lockdowns across the world forcing cinema closures, there are no major releases until 5 June. That’s when Wonder Woman 1984 is set to release. Correction: WAS set to release as Warner Bros officially delayed the highly-anticipated superhero sequel last night.
The DC Comics blockbuster starring Gal Gadot will now be releasing on 14 August, which means it has only been bumped up by two months. That’s not too bad. It’s certainly a lot better than some of its other peers, like Universal’s Fast & Furious 9, which got pushed all the way to next year. WB clearly think an extra two months is also enough time for some normalcy to be returning to the world by then.
The studio doesn’t appear to be 100% convinced of that fact though, as it’s also removed a bunch of films from its release calendar with no new dates supplied. The films affected are the animated Scooby-Doo reboot Scoob!, moving from 15 May, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical In the Heights, moving from 26 June. James Wan’s new horror film, Malignant, was supposed to release on 14 August, but with Wonder Woman 1984 taking its slot, it’s now also been pulled indefinitely.
There’s a big name missing from that shake-up though. For some reason, WB has decided to keep Christopher Nolan’s upcoming thriller Tenet right where it is on 17 July. Chances of the Covid-19 pandemic having subsided enough by then are slim, so this is a risky move. Especially considering that this film is reported to have a production budget of over $200 million. Even with the film probably not having as big an advertising budget as others given Nolan’s super-secretive filmmaking tendencies, the studio will probably need to have the film gross north of $400 million to safely break even. I’d be guessing that only upwards of half a billion would be considered a proper success. As the box office landscape looks right now, I don’t see that happening.
As for that box office landscape, besides for Tenet, the only other blockbuster releases still left for the US summer season are Pixar’s Soul (19 June), Top Gun: Maverick (26 June), Ghostbusters: Afterlife (10 July), Jungle Cruise (24 July), and Morbius (31 July). Of that lot, Jungle Cruise looks like it would be the only sure-fire hit under the best of circumstances, so expect them to probably move as well after studios scope out the next few critical weeks.
Last Updated: March 25, 2020