Walt Disney Co. has delayed the release of the Marvel movie Black Widow and two other May films as it copes with the shutdown of US theatres as the coronavirus spreads.
Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson in the title role, had been slated for release on May 1. The Personal History of David Copperfield that was due May 8 and The Woman in the Window, scheduled for May 15, will also be pushed back to some undetermined date.
The delays bring further upheaval to an industry that’s rethinking how it does business during the coronavirus outbreak. NBCUniversal sent shockwaves through Hollywood on Monday by deciding to abandon the exclusive “theatrical window” and put some of its movies online the day they were scheduled to be released in cinemas. While there’s no sign that delayed tent-pole films, such as Black Widow, No Time to Die or F9, will follow the same route, theatre owners are wary of being cut out.
Before the pandemic, cinema chains were already pressured by the popularity of streaming services, including Netflix Inc. With most theatres in the US now closed — including the two largest chains, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and Regal Entertainment Group — audiences may become even more used to seeing major new films from their sofas.