Movie Guru: Release date delays are part of the industry, so don’t freak out about ‘My Spy’ or ‘A Quiet Place Part II’
“My Spy” has been temporarily forced into hiding once again.
The Dave Bautista-helmed movie, which was scheduled to open this weekend, has been pushed back to April 17 in an attempt to avoid the economic impact of COVID-19. “A Quiet Place Part II,” scheduled to open next week, has also had its release date pushed back. The same has happened to Disney’s live action remake of “Mulan,” originally slated for March 27, with no postponement date yet announced.
Though theater attendance is down in the U.S. due to fears of outbreak, the biggest hits in the film industry have been international. Chinese audiences have long been a huge part of Hollywood’s box office totals, and theater closures overseas have already caused movie studios to lose billions.
With closures in Italy, France, South Korea and other countries, there will likely be more closures domestically in the coming months. This will especially be true of big blockbusters and other action movies, which have traditionally done really well internationally. Though COVID-19 wasn’t specifically cited as a reason, the newest Bond film, “No Time To Die,” has already been pushed back to November.
This trend isn’t confined to the film world, either. Reality social-strategy-meets-island-survival show “Survivor,” which films in Fiji, announced that it has postponed production of season 41 to May. Late-night talk shows hosted by Jimmy Fallon and Trevor Noah, among others, are filming without studio audiences. COVID-19 has had wide-ranging effects on all sectors of the entertainment industry.
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Circling back, this isn’t the first time “My Spy” has been delayed. The movie was originally going to open in August, but according to Variety, the studio pushed it back to make sure there was more time between it and Bautista’s other 2019 movie, “Stuber.” Then it was moved to January, traditionally a dismal time for movies, only to be delayed again to give it a chance at a bigger audience.
It’s also not the only recent movie with a history of delays. “The Hunt,” which is still opening this weekend, is a modern riff on the 1924 short story “The Most Dangerous Game.” Originally, the movie was scheduled to open September 2019, but after mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, the movie was temporarily shelved. The move was part of a long tradition of shelving violent movies and episodes in the wake of similar incidents.
Other delays don’t require a crisis. “Artemis Fowl,” based on the kids’ fantasy/sci-fi book series, was supposed to be released in August, around the same time as “My Spy.” However, that was also about the same time that Disney bought Fox. The movie got pushed back to May in the shuffle, and the (originally Fox-owned) movie “The Art of Racing in the Rain” took its fall release date. No specific reason was given for the slot, but May is a much more common release window for family films than fall.
So if you’re worried about “My Spy,” don’t be. Delays are a common part of the movie business — and even the longest ones end eventually.
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story has been updated to reflect news developments.