by Pamela McClintock
In another major reshuffling of its release calendar, Disney is pushing 2020 event pics Black Widow and West Side Story to next year amid challenges posed by the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
Marvel's female superhero pic, starring Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, had been set to hit the big screen Nov. 6. It will now open May 7, 2021. In turn, Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is being pushed from the May 7 date to July 9, 2021. (Marvel's Eternals also has a new date.)
Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, from 20th Century and Amblin, is being delayed almost an entire year, moving from Dec. 18 to Dec. 10, 2021. Disney isn't giving up its seat at the 2020 Christmas table entirely and is relocating 20th Century's Death on the Nile from Oct. 23 to Dec. 18.
Black Widow's exit from the early November calendar is bad news for exhibitors who need tentpoles as they reopen. One bit of good news for theater owners: Pixar's Soul is sticking to its Nov. 20 theatrical release date, while 20th Century's Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds, is keeping its Dec. 11 date. Nor were any of the films mentioned in Tuesday's announcement being sent to Disney+, as Mulan was.
The latest round of changes to Disney's calendar underscores the continuing challenges facing the box office amid the ongoing pandemic, as well as production delays. They also follow the muted box office performance of Christopher Nolan's Tenet in the U.S.
Cinemas in some top markets are not even open yet in the U.S., and there is growing concern about a second wave of COVID-19 cases this fall and winter, both domestically and abroad.
Elsewhere on Disney's calendar, The King's Man is being moved up from Feb. 26, 2021, to Feb. 12, 2021. The latter had been the home of Marvel's Eternals, which is moving to Nov. 5, 2021.
Among 20th Century/Disney titles, The Empty Man is moving up from Dec. 4 of this year to Oct. 23, while Deep Water is being delayed from Nov. 13 of this year to Aug. 13, 2021.