UPDATE, 9:05AM: Sony has confirmed that the domestic roll-out of Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway has shifted to August 7 to coincide with the new international release date, which was moved from its original March slot to avoid disruption caused by the coronavirus.
PREVIOUSLY, 06:25AM: Sony has decided to move its family sequel Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway back to the summer in a bid to swerve disruption from the spiralling coronavirus epidemic, Deadline can confirm.
Peter Rabbit 2 was due to launch March 19 in Australia, March 26 in Germany, Portugal and the Ukraine, and March 27 in the UK and Ireland and Sweden, followed by the wide international release in early April and its domestic bow April 3. Those dates would’ve seen it play over the lucrative Easter holiday period in early May.
Exhibitors received notice today that the film’s global release would move to summer 2020, and Sony has now confirmed that the international roll-out has shifted to August 7. These decisions are being finalized as we report, but due to factors including the piracy risk, it seems certain the U.S. release will follow suit and land on approximately the same date.
This is a late call from Sony to push the film, but its one that makes sense given that the previous Peter Rabbit pic took $235M of its $351M global haul from international territories, delivering strong returns in the likes of France, Germany and Japan.
While the U.S. and UK box offices, the films two key territories, have weathered the coronavirus storm to date, Asian and European markets are being dramatically impacted as authorities try to contain the spread of the virus.
Italy, for example, recorded its lowest box office weekend in history last time out, and this week the country has shuttered all of its cinemas until at least April 3. Other nations have been similarly affected and it seems likely more extreme containment measures will follow suit in the next couple of weeks. Today, Austria and the Czech Republic both banned indoor public gatherings of more than 100 people.
Exhibitors in territories where cinemas remain open will be stung by the news, with two major titles now missing from the calendar in the next month. They will be hoping that Dreamworks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, which has moved up to April 10 to fill the Bond slot, as well as Disney’s Black Widow, will provide some salve as we head into Easter, if those releases hold.