As the coronavirus crisis continues to take lives around the world, there is no time table yet for when production on big budget Marvel movies will start up, but blockbuster still belong in cinemas, Disney’s CEO declared today – at least for now.
“No projections,” Bob Chapek told a conference call Tuesday of the House of Mouse’s bloody second-quarter earnings results when asked when tentpoles projects could be reactivated. The new-ish successor to Bob Iger would say that “we will be very responsible in terms of masks… when we proceed” on such production down the line.
“Same process with our large-scale productions as we are doing with our theme parks,” the circumspect Chapek noted in terms of noting moving to reopen until the all clear is given by public health officials and strict safety procedures are in place
Just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to spread this spring, Disney hit pause on such productions as Shang-Chi, Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, The Little Mermaid, Searchlight’s Nightmare Alley, Shrunk and Peter Pan & Wendy.
The studio also shifted a bulk of their theatrical releases into later 3Q and 4Q and beyond. For instance, Mulan, originally expected to go at the end of March, is now opening July 24; Black Widow scheduled for May 1 went to November 6, a date that belonged to Eternals.
That set-off a chain reaction of Marvel movies, sending Eternals to February 12, 2021, Shang-Chi’s old date. Shang-Chi then moved to May 7, 2021 (Doctor Strange 2‘s old date), Doctor Strange 2 jumped to Nov. 5, 2021 (Thor Love and Thunder‘s old date), with that Taika Waititi movie moving to Feb. 18, 2022. Disney also pulled its current Memorial Day release Artemis Fowl from the calendar with plans to put it on Disney+.
While Warner Bros.’ Christopher Nolan movie Tenet is expected to be bring cinemas back from their COVID-19 shutdown on July 17, Mulan is another big sign of hope for exhibition. Given how much of a global day-and-date release Mulan is, the film will need not only the New York and Los Angeles theatrical markets up and running, but China and other offshore territories as well.
Certainly, the big hit Disney unveiled in today’s earnings report reflect some of that state of affairs.
Yet, warming up over the long-ish course of his first earnings call since taking over as CEO in February, Chapek also sought to calm fears that the market dominating Disney may leave currently shutter movie theaters and multiplexes behind in the post-pandemic world. Citing the economic and social realties of “changing consumer dynamics and COVID,” the CEO bluntly started that “we very much believe in the cinema experience to launch blockbuster moves.”
Which, not matter how appealing multi-platform simultaneous release may seem, is exactly what you say when you own the Star Wars franchise and saw 2019’s Avengers: Endgame snag $2.8 billion in worldwide box office – cause this is show business.