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More coronavirus fallout as Sony pushes Ghostbusters: Afterlife & Morbius to 2021

By Josh Grossberg
Ghostbusters: Afterlife poster

They ain't afraid of no ghosts, but the coronavirus pandemic is another matter entirely.

In another case of Covid-19 continuing to wreak havoc on studio release schedules, Sony Pictures has announced a slew of delays to the theatrical bows of several upcoming tentpoles, chief among them the new Ghostbusters reboot from Jason Reitman and the Spider-Man spinoff Morbius featuring Jared Leto as Marvel's vampire anti-hero.

Titled Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the latest entry in the spooky comedy series headlining Paul Rudd and featuring a new generation of slime fighters was originally set to hit theaters on July 10. But with the pandemic in full force and exhibitors closing their doors across the United States, the studio thought it prudent to move the film's opening date to March 5, 2021. Sony also shifted Morbius from a July 31 premiere to March 19, 2021, a temporary blow in its plans to launch a Spidey-centric cinematic universe.

While a year is a long way away for two highly anticipated blockbusters like Ghostbusters and Morbius, at least they have release dates. The same can't be said for that mysterious new Marvel movie — potentially one involving a new-to-screen comic book character — that Sony had scheduled for an Oct. 8, 2021 release. In Sony’s new shifted release schedule, that date has simply been removed altogether, and now the project is classified as undated.

Also undated is the Tom Hanks World War II thriller Greyhound and, no, it doesn't have anything to do with its star's recovery from Covid-19 with wife Rita Wilson. Greyhound, which sees Hanks playing the Commander of an Allied fleet in the Atlantic who must outwit and outrun a pack of German U-boats, was supposed to come out in May. But after getting pushed back to June, Sony has decided to take it off its schedule for now and leave it undated.

There’s also Vivo, Lin Manuel Miranda’s long-brewing DreamWorks animated musical about an adventurous capuchin monkey. After going through multiple schdule changes that predate the whole pandemic time-shift, Vivo is currently set for an April 16, 2021 release. In yet another delay, the Kevin Hart drama Fatherhood, originally set to unspool Oct. 23, will now hit theaters on Jan. 15, 2021.

The coronavirus outbreaks have already led to a slew of postponements of eagerly awaited blockbusters. Warner Bros., for instance, moved Wonder Woman 1984 from June 5 to Aug. 14. Marvel Studios pulled its upcoming May 1 release of Black Widow without announcing a new date. Illumination did the same with its latest Minions entry, Minions: The Rise of Gru, which it pulled from its initial July 3 window without naming a replacement date.

Meanwhile, production has been halted on films like Mission: Impossible 7, James Cameron's Avatar sequels, Lana Wachowski's Matrix 4, and Jurassic World: Dominion, as well as movies just about to start shooting, like Sony's Uncharted starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, which had already been pushed from its March 5, 2021 release date to Oct. 8, 2021.