EXCLUSIVE: There’s been some confusion this week about whether Unhinged, the Russell Crowe thriller that was recently pushed by its U.S. distributor Solstice Studios from July 10 to July 31 due to continued coronavirus disruption, would also be moving in the UK from its planned July 17 date.
I can clear that up now by confirming that Altitude, the film’s UK distributor, has today moved the title to July 31 to match up with the domestic release.
While it’s fairly standard practice for a UK distributor to move in line with a U.S. release, the question over Unhinged arose from the availability of cinemas.
In the U.S. the picture has become murkier with numerous states facing renewed lockdown procedures due to increasing COVID cases. Yesterday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey re-closed movie theaters for at least a month, while Los Angeles and New York are among the major box office spots yet to give cinemas the green light to return. As such, key titles including Warner Bros’ Tenet and Disney’s Mulan have pushed on more than one occasion as the situation ebbs and flows.
In England, cinemas can re-open from this weekend (July 4), but today Cineworld, one of the UK’s largest chains, confirmed it would delay its own re-opening plans until July 31 across its estate in both England and the U.S. (where it owns Regal).
Key to this decision has been the lack of available product. Tenet and Mulan have been delayed globally, and with Unhinged now also having moved, exhibitors are being left with the possibility that if they re-open too soon they are going to be playing re-releases and classics for weeks before they can get their teeth into a title with real blockbuster audience draw. It’s tricky to see how that would make economic sense.
There are also fears in the UK that the easing of lockdown restrictions could lead to a second wave of cases, which would likely see strong measures reinforced. As of today, key exhibitors Odeon, Vue and Showcase are all planning to begin re-opening a portion of their venues from July 4, but don’t be surprised if this also changes following today’s Unhinged news and Cineworld’s decision.
Separately, Altitude is pushing ahead with its UK release of the crocodile horror/thriller Black Water: Abyss, which will do theatrical previews this coming weekend ahead of its official release on July 10.
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