The growing concern over the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has led to the cancellation of major pop culture events like Emerald City Comic Con and SXSW. Even film releases have been affected. Just this week, for instance, Warner Bros. announced it was delaying Wonder Woman 1984 to mid-August.
With so many facets of the entertainment world feeling the shock wave of this global health scare, SYFY WIRE is providing a cursory roundup of the latest postponements and cancellations caused by the coronavirus. Please note that this list is by no means definitive, but here's the latest.
Last updated on April 3 at 5 p.m ET.
Black Widow, Eternals, Indiana Jones 5, and more
Disney's entire theatrical release schedule has been entirely rewritten in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Originally slated to open May 1, Black Widow has been pushed to Nov. 6, effectively knocking Eternals to Feb. 12, 2021. In turn, Shang-Chi will now debut on May 7, 2021, which means Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is headed for Nov. 5, 2021. As a result of that, Thor: Love and Thunder is now targeting Feb. 28, 2022. Black Panther 2 is keeping its initial release date of May 8, 2022 while Captain Marvel 2 film arrives July 8, 2022.
The other projects affected are Mulan (July 24), Free Guy (Dec. 11), Jungle Cruise (July 30, 2021), and Indiana Jones 5 (July 29, 2022).
Artemis Fowl is skipping theaters altogether and debuting exclusively on Disney+ instead. A date has yet to be announced.
In another case of Covid-19 continuing to wreak havoc on studio release schedules, Sony Pictures has opted to delay 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, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
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 Mar. 5, 2021. Sony also shifted Morbius from a July 31 premiere to Mar. 19, 2021, a temporary blow in its plans to launch a Spidey-centric cinematic universe.
UPDATE: As of Friday, March 27, Disney announced that its theme parks would "remain closed until further notice." Park and resort cast members will continue to receive hourly wages through Saturday, April 18.
For the fourth time in its 65-year history, Disneyland closed down—at least until the end of March.
“While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort, after carefully reviewing the guidelines of the Governor of California’s executive order and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure, beginning the morning of March 14 through the end of the month," Disney said in a statement.
Disney Parks later announced the temporary closures of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Paris Resort, along with the suspension of Disney Cruise Line departures.
The CW's The Flash is pushing back its series ending due to the coronavirus. The series has delayed filming, and production is not scheduled to pick up again until sometime later in 2020. Variety reports the show has enough episodes to take it up until May 19, at which point the show will go on a break until Season 6 can be completed. At that time the new DC Universe inspired series Stargirl (which just had its debut pushed back a week to May 19) will take over Flash's usual Tuesday 8 p.m. ET time slot.
The CW fantasy series Legacies is going on hiatus following the airing of the final episode that was filmed prior to the production's shutdown. The hiatus begins on Mar. 26, and will last for an indefinite period of time, according to Variety. It’s unclear when filming for the final episodes for S2 will resume, or when those episodes will air. The show will be replaced with the comedy-drama series In the Dark on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.
Matt Reeves' take on Gotham's Caped Crusader is one of the biggest movie shoots to be put on hold amid the COVID-19 health scare.
After Warner Bros. announced on Mar. 14 that production on The Batman would shut down for two weeks, Reeves posted via social media on Mar. 25 that filming for the superhero film has been put on hold indefinitely.
“Yes, we have shut down till it is safe for us all to resume,” Reeves wrote on Twitter Wednesday in response to a fan’s question. “Everyone safe for the moment, thank you for asking, and stay safe too.”
The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson, is currently scheduled to open on June 25, 2021. It’s unclear whether this will delay its release.
Wonder Woman 1984
Originally scheduled to hit theaters Friday, June 5, Wonder Woman 1984 has been pushed back two months and will now open Friday,
“When we greenlit Wonder Woman 1984, it was with every intention to be viewed on the big screen and are excited to announce that Warner Bros. Pictures will be bringing the film to theaters on Aug. 14,” Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman, said in a statement published by Deadline. “We hope the world will be in a safer and healthier place by then.”
Malignant and Scoob! are also delayed.
Free Comic Book Day
The annual event meant to draw comic book novices into local shops is now postponed until late summer. Diamond Comic Distributors has orchestrated the holiday (usually held on the first Saturday in May) since the giveaway promotion was created in 2002.
“The severity and timing of the impact of the COVID-19 virus can’t be predicted with any certainty, but the safety of our retailer partners and comic book fans is too important to risk,” Diamond founder and CEO Steve Geppi said in a statement. “As always, we appreciate your enthusiasm for and support of the comic industry’s best event and look forward to celebrating with you later in the summer.”
Minions: The Rise of Gru:
Illumination's Minions sequel has been pulled from its initial release date of Friday, July 3. No replacement date has been chosen yet.
“In response to the severity of the situation in France, we are temporarily closing our Illumination Mac Guff studio in Paris. With this decision we are abiding by the French Government’s guidelines and doing everything possible to slow the spread of the virus as we care for our artists and their families,” Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of Illumination, said in a statement to Variety.
“This means we will be unable to finish Minions: The Rise of Gru in time for our planned global releases in late June and early July," he continued. "While we all grapple with the enormity of this crisis, we must put the safety and protection of our employees above all. We look forward to finding a new release date for the return of Gru and the Minions.”
Lionsgate Films: Spiral, Antebellum, & Run
Deadline reports that Lionsgate has nixed the originally scheduled spring release dates for a trio of its upcoming genre movies — Spiral, Antebellum, and Run — and that rescheduled premieres for all three will remain undated for the time being, until theaters have reopened and the threat of pandemic has stabilized.
Antebellum, which features Janelle Monáe as an author racing to unravel the mystery that’s trapped her in a tormented reality, was set for an April 24 release.
Run, a thriller starring Sarah Paulson as an overbearing mother whose dark secrets her daughter must discover, would have premiered in theaters on May 8.
Spiral, the new SAW movie starring Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, had originally been slated to release on May 15.
Cinemark announced it would be closing its U.S. theaters beginning Wednesday, March 18, “until we believe it is safe to once again welcome moviegoers to our auditoriums,” the chain said in a statement on its website.
Theater chain Regal Cinemas closed all of its locations in the United States as a precautionary response to the coronavirus. THR reports that the chain has decided to close all of its 543 U.S. theaters, following a Mar. 16 federal advisory asking Americans to limit their social gatherings to groups of no more than 10 people.
New York City and Los Angeles have both ordered that all movie theaters be closed down in order to prevent any further spread of COVID-19, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed. The unprecedented orders came from the cities' respective mayors: Bill de Blasio and Eric Garcetti. Other public gathering spaces like restaurants, gyms, and clubs are also affected.
Cineworld, Odeon and Picturehouse, the United Kingdom's leading movie theater chains, closed down as well, Variety writes.
Birds of Prey
Warner Bros. has decided to release Cathy Yan's Birds of Prey film on VOD services a little earlier than planned, Variety reports. The DCEU is now available for digital purchase at a price point of $19.99
Production on James Cameron's four Avatar sequels is on hold in New Zealand.
"We've delayed it," producer Jon Landau told the New Zealand Herald, admitting that he had no idea when filming would resume. "We're in the midst of a global crisis and this is not about the film industry. I think everybody needs to do now whatever we can do, as we say here, to flatten the [coronavirus] curve ... We try and monitor all this and look at things and think about what is in the best interest of our crew. I call it our Avatar family. That is really paramount to us above anything."
Avatar 2 is scheduled to arrive in theaters on Dec. 17, 2021. It will be followed by three sequels in 2023, 2025, and 2027, respectively.
The Lost Boys
The TV reboot of The Lost Boys will have to wander a while longer, now that The CW has reportedly suspended production on the fledgling series’ pilot episode. According to Deadline, the network halted production over the weekend due to coronavirus precautions. Along with Fox comedy This Country, the reboot of the beloved '80s vampire movie was one of the last two remaining pilots in production targeting an air date this season.
Sony's Uncharted movie
The live-action Uncharted movie has suffered yet another setback thanks to the coronavirus. The video game adaptation was six weeks into preproduction, but is now on pause, writes Variety.
Venom's Ruben Fleischer has been hired to direct the movie, which stars Tom Holland as a young Nathan Drake. Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas, Tati Gabrielle, and Sophia Ali co-star. Right now, Uncharted is scheduled to open in theaters on March 15, 2021.
In an unprecedented move, NBCUniversal (owner of SYFY WIRE) is making some of its theatrical releases available on home video at the same time they open in theaters not yet shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic. As The Hollywood Reporter writes, this doesn't apply to Universal's entire 2020 slate of films, but to a select few, like Trolls: World Tour, The Hunt, The Invisible Man, and Emma.
The movies, which will be made available to rent for 48-hour periods, are slated to drop on a number of on-demand platforms for $19.99 a pop.
"Given the rapidly evolving and unprecedented changes to consumers’ daily lives during this difficult time, the company felt that now was the right time to provide this option in the home as well as in theaters. NBCUniversal will continue to evaluate the environment as conditions evolve and will determine the best distribution strategy in each market when the current unique situation changes," NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said in a statement published by THR.
The Matrix 4
Warner Bros. has temporarily pulled the plug on the fourth Matrix movie, from returning director Lana Wachowski.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, the film was mainly shooting in San Francisco before heading to Berlin this month to finish up production. The project was only in prep mode for its European shoot and hadn't done any actual filming yet.
The Matrix 4 co-stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Priyanka Chopra, Jonathan Groff, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jada Pinkett Smith, Brian J. Smith, Neil Patrick Harris, Toby Onwumere, and Andrew Caldwell. The film, whose plot is being kept tightly under wraps, is scheduled to open in theaters May 21, 2021.
Amazon's Lord of the Rings:
Amazon's trip to Mordor is the latest production to be put on hold in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, writes Deadline. Shooting for the company's big-budget Lord of the Rings TV series was underway in New Zealand (where Peter Jackson shot his own Tolkien adaptations).
An alleged memo to the project's crew (via The New Zealand Herald) reads:
“In an abundance of caution, UAP [Untitled Amazon Project] has suspended production for the next two (2) weeks commencing Monday, March 16. This is done in an environment where travel restrictions directed at the control of COVID-19 are issued daily by New Zealand and most other countries. We are doing this to minimise stress on the resources and infrastructures around us by doing our part to reduce population density in our communities and daily activities, in efforts to help reduce the spread of the virus."
The Witcher Season 2
COVID-19 is making it very difficult for Netflix to toss a coin to its second season of The Witcher. Production on the high fantasy series is also on hold, SYFY WIRE has confirmed. Per TheWrap, the show had been on a two-week shoot in the United Kingdom.
Fantastic Beasts 3
The third Fantastic Beasts movie has put its production on hold, according to Variety. It was scheduled to start shooting the week of March 16. The Harry Potter spinoff project is slated to hit theaters on Nov. 12, 2021.
Season 3 of The Orville is shutting down production for three weeks, Deadline has confirmed. The Star Trek-inspired space comedy created by Seth MacFarlane was reportedly "mulling going in hiatus for the past few days." Unlike its first two outings, the show's third season is set to premiere on Hulu rather than Fox.
The Atlanta-based production for Sylvester Stallone's Samaritan is also going on a two-week hiatus, Deadline reported today. According to the report, Stallone was in the middle of filming a pick-up shot yesterday before the movie's progress was halted over coronavirus concerns.
Helmed by Julius Avery (Overlord), the film follows a young boy (Euphoria's Javon "Wanna" Walton) who sets out to discover whether a famous superhero (Stallone) is alive after disappearing two decades earlier.
Samaritan is scheduled to open in theaters Friday, Dec. 11.
The Handmaid's Tale:
Production on Season 4 of Hulu's award-winning adaptation of Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopian novel is the latest show to cease production over COVID-19 concerns. Deadline confirmed the news and also pointed out that the fourth season will mark the directorial debut of series star Elisabeth Moss.
The 40th Razzies
“Tonight's live Razzie ceremony had to be canceled/postponed because the Mayor of Los Angeles shut down all city-owned venues where more than 50 people could gather, including our site, The Barnsdall Theatre,” co-founder John Wilson said in a statement published by The Hollywood Reporter. "Without a hall, we could not proceed with the show, but we are hoping to have a video to disseminate by tonight ... Perhaps even by what had been our original 'curtain time' of 8pm. Obviously, if there is no live show, there is nothing to be streamed, either."
The event was held online instead. View the winners here.
Marvel shows on Disney+
Marvel Studios' first round of MCU television shows—The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (August 2020), WandaVision (December 2020), and Loki (2021)—have all paused their productions.
In particular, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was in the middle of a weeklong shoot in Prague when the government closed schools and placed travel restrictions, Deadline confirmed.
Jurassic World: Dominion
The trilogy capper to Colin Trevorrow's dino-related reboot is now on hiatus as Universal halts production on its current slate of live-action films. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio said that it would continue "to monitor the situation closely and will make a determination on when to restart production in the coming weeks.”
Written by Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael, Jurassic World: Dominion is scheduled to hit theaters on June 11, 2021.
AMC's Walking Dead universe
Pre-production for Season 11 of The Walking Dead is on hold, as is production on Season 6 of Fear the Walking Dead, Deadline reported. Season 10 of TWD will end with Episode 15, airing its finale as a special later in the year. Lastly, The Walking Dead: World Beyond has vacated its April 12 premiere and will also debut later in 2020.
With only a few weeks left in production on its 15th and final season, The CW has suspended work on Supernatural, Deadline reports. The delay reportedly may affect the actual release schedule of the series’ final episodes, depending on how long the downtime — the duration of which wasn’t announced — could last.
Y (The Last Man)
Production at FX on the long-awaited live-action TV adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan’s groundbreaking comic book series Y: The Last Man is reportedly being suspended. According to Deadline, the set of Y will go dark for “at least two weeks” until the network is confident that government efforts to halt the spread of coronavirus have been effective.
Warner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. pumped the brakes on a number of its television projects, writes The Hollywood Reporter. In addition to Riverdale and Pennyworth, The CW's main slate of Arrowverse projects—Supergirl, Batwoman, and The Flash—have halted production.
"With the rapidly changing events related to COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, Warner Bros. Television Group is halting production on some of our 70+ series and pilots currently filming or about to begin. The health and safety of our employees, casts and crews remains our top priority. During this time, we will continue to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control as well as local officials and public health professionals in each city where our productions are based," the company said in a statement published by THR.
Disney film production
According to Variety, the Mouse House is shutting down almost all of its live-action film productions "for a short time."
“While there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our productions, after considering the current environment and the best interests of our cast and crew, we have made the decision to pause production on some of our live-action films for a short time. We will continue to assess the situation and restart as soon as feasible," the company said in a statement run by Variety.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Production on Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi film halted production as the project's director, Destin Daniel Cretton, decided to place himself into isolation, Variety confirmed. The Short Term 12 decided to be extra cautious due to the fact that he is a new father. He later revealed that his results came back negative.
Right now, the comic book film is still scheduled to make its Feb. 21, 2021, release date.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood also is temporarily shutting down to avert concerns over coronavirus. Variety reports that the park is closing its doors entirely for a two-week span beginning Saturday, March 14. Current plans call for the park to reopen on March 28. “The health and safety of our team members and guests is always our top priority,” a Universal Studios spokesperson told Variety, adding that “Universal CityWalk will remain open. We will provide timely updates as conditions evolve.”
Comic cons & festivals
ACE Comic Con: The Northeast convention was set to take place in Boston on March 20-22. Organizers said those who bought tickets can expect a full refund within 30 days.
PaleyFest LA: The Paley Center for Media’s event to honor the TV shows dominating pop culture, including Picard, The Boys, Outlander, and The Mandalorian -- has been delayed, with no new date yet announced.
The National Association of Theater Owners has canceled CinemaCon -- an important industry meeting of the minds. CinemaCon was scheduled to run from March 30 to April 2.
The TCM Classic Film Festival has also been canceled, but a "Special Home Edition" of the event will televised amid this period of isolation and quarantine.
Emerald City Comic Con was postponed to late summer.
Fast & Furious 9
The ninth entry in Universal's globe-trotting action franchise has been pushed off by a year until the coronavirus can be dealt with. F9 will now zoom into theaters in April of 2021.
"While we know there is disappointment in having to wait a little while longer, this move is made with the safety of everyone as our foremost consideration," the Fast Family said in a statement.
A Quiet Place Part II
Both Paramount Pictures and John Krasinski confirmed that the highly anticipated horror sequel would be moved out of its Friday, March 20, theatrical release. Krasinski penned a message to fans via Instagram, citing the need for the film to be enjoyed in a theater full of other people. Replacement dates for both the domestic and international debuts have yet to be announced.
Activision Blizzard canceled all Overwatch League events scheduled for March and April.
“The health and safety of employees, fans, players, teams, and partners is paramount to Activision Blizzard Esports,” the company announced on Wednesday. “We are continuing to closely monitor COVID-19 (coronavirus), city-level recommendations and mandates, and all guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Peter Rabbit 2
Originally slated to open in theaters on Friday, April 3, Sony's Peter Rabbit sequel (sub-titled The Runaway) has been pushed off by five months and will now debut on Tuesday, August 7.
Quibi red carpet launch
The short-form streaming platform created by Jeffrey Katzenberg axed its red carpet rollout event, Deadline confirmed. The world debut was set for Sunday, April 5, in Culver City.
The app is still slated to go live around the world on Monday, April 6.
“While we look forward to launching the Quibi app on April 6, we have decided to cancel our pre-launch event party out of an abundance of caution as we continue to monitor COVID-19. Supporting the health and well-being of everyone involved is our top priority," the company said in a statement provided to Deadline.