Paramount just made some release date changes given the unpredictable coronavirus climate. The long-awaited Tom Cruise Skydance sequel Top Gun Maverick is now going on Wednesday December 23, 2020, instead of June 24. This will push the Chris Pratt sci-fi Skydance movie The Tomorrow War to an unset date.
The new date for Top Gun Maverick gives the holiday a great must-see movie, in the absence of a Star Wars or superhero movie like Aquaman. Top Gun 2 will face Christmas Day weekend releases Tom & Jerry from Warner Bros, Sony’s Fanning sisters WWII drama The Nightingale, DreamWorks Animation/Uni’s The Croods 2, and Universal’s News of the World. Preceding Top Gun 2 on December 18 is 20th/Disney’s West Side Story, Lionsgate’s American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story, Warner Bros/Legendary’s Dune, and Paramount’s Coming to America 2.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run will debut July 31, instead of on Memorial Day weekend, May 22. The move puts an event film on that release date after Sony/Marvel’s Morbius left for March 19, 2021.
A Quiet Place Part II, which was originally expected to go March 20 before getting pulled from the calendar as COVID-19 fears ramped up, will now open on September 4. Labor Day weekend, summer B.O.’s finale, is typically the deadest period ever for moviegoing as people head back to school, but with studios and theaters betting that moviegoing explodes later this summer than sooner, with Wonder Woman 1984 on August 14, look for A Quiet Place Part II to redefine the Labor Day frame much like Warner Bros transformed the post-Labor Day period with Stephen King’s It. A Quiet Place Part II pushes up against New Line’s September 11 release The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. Will that horror sequel stay or go? Typically genre movies space themselves out on the release calendar.
The changes unveiled Thursday cuts far deeper into the summer calendar with an unexpected date as to when exhibition will reopen on full blast. AMC is hoping to re-open its circuit in early June. New York City, a major moviegoing market, remains besieged with more than 45,000 COVID-19 cases, repping more than half the entire state. In an effort to have tentpoles earning their maximum, a film will need New York and Los Angeles online as they rep a great percentage of a pic’s weekend ticket sales. And of course, these movies will need the world’s theaters.
What will theaters do for product if this crisis clears up earlier? I’m told many titles are flexible for all studios, and can always be pulled up to an earlier opening should the nation’s marketplace improve. Also, most of these titles remain in post-production. Many are expecting that when theaters do re-open, it will take some time for audiences to come back. Winter holdover titles and catalog movies are expected to be on marquees. As we’ve also written, for movies to come back, live televised sporting events also have to return as well as the major studios hit their male demos with ads during that time.
So, what remains on the schedule? With all theaters closed, DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour is expected to be largely available for on-demand rental next weekend. STX has yet to re-date family comedy My Spy; the Dave Bautista movie already has cleared about $200,000 from a one-week Canada release.
The rest of summer is currently dated as follows in regards to wide releases, of course, subject to change:
Artemis Fowl (Disney)
Candyman (Uni) – June 12
The King of Staten Island (Uni)
Free Guy (20th/Dis)
Untitled Purge (Uni)
Bob’s Burgers (20th/Dis)
Jungle Cruise (Dis)
Come Play (Focus)
SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run (Par)
Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar (LG)
Empty Man (20th/Dis)
Wonder Woman 1984 (WB)
The One and Only Ivan (Dis)
Let Him Go (Foc)
Bill & Ted Face the Music (UAR)
Untitled Fred Hampton project (WB)
Hitman’s Bodyguard Part 2 (LG)
Sept 4 – Labor Day weekend
The Beatles: Get Back (Dis)
Monster Hunter (Sony)
A Quiet Place Part II (Par)