IN THE SPOT­LIGHT

Dis­ney de­lays ‘Black Wi­dow,’ Spiel­berg’s ‘West Side Story’

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS -

NEW YORK » The Walt Dis­ney Co. has fur­ther post­poned its next mega-movies from Marvel, in­clud­ing “Black Wi­dow,” while also post­pon­ing Steven Spiel­berg’s “West Side Story” a full year in the com­pany’s latest re­cal­i­bra­tion due to the pan­demic.

Ten of Dis­ney’s top films shuf­fled re­lease dates Wed­nes­day, up­root­ing sev­eral of the com­pany’s ma­jor fall re­leases. The Scar­lett Jo­hans­son Marvel movie “Black Wi­dow,” last set for Nov. 6, heads to May 7 of next year. In­stead of open­ing next month, Ken­neth Branagh’s mur­der mys­tery “Death on the Nile” moves to Dec. 18. That was the date set for “West Side Story,” but Spiel­berg’s mu­si­cal will in­stead de­but in De­cem­ber 2021.

Dis­ney didn’t en­tirely aban­don the sea­son. The Pixar re­lease “Soul” re­mains on the cal­en­dar for late Novem­ber. “The Empty Man,” a hor­ror re­lease from the former 20th Cen­tury Fox, is mov­ing up from De­cem­ber to Oct. 23.

But the de­lays of Dis­ney’s up­com­ing block­busters re­in­force the grow­ing ex­o­dus from 2020 among the block­busters that hadn’t al­ready up­rooted to next year. Fol­low­ing tepid ticket sales for Warner Bros.’ “Tenet” in a U.S. the­atri­cal mar­ket­place where about 30% of cin­e­mas re­main closed, Warner Bros.’ “Won­der Woman 1984” moved from Oc­to­ber to Christ­mas and Univer­sal Pic­tures’ “Can­dy­man” post­poned to next year.

Given the in­ter­con­nected na­ture of Marvel re­leases, the latest de­lay of “Black Wi­dow” had a domino ef­fect on other films. Destin Daniel Cret­ton’s “Shang Chi and the Leg­end of the Ten Rings,” star­ring Simu Liu as the mar­tial arts hero, is now slated for July 9, 2021, in­stead of May 7. Chloe Zhao’s “Eter­nals,”

with An­gelina Jolie, Gemma Chan and Ku­mail Nan­jiani, moves from Fe­bru­ary to Nov. 5, 2021.

“Marvel made the right and re­spon­si­ble de­ci­sion,” Nan­jiani said on Twit­ter. “There’s a pan­demic. Noth­ing is more im­por­tant than health and lives. I can’t tell peo­ple to go to a movie the­ater un­til I feel safe go­ing to one.”

The Ben Af­fleck-Ana de Ar­mas thriller “Deep Wa­ter” was also pushed from Novem­ber un­til Au­gust next year.

Notably, Dis­ney didn’t an­nounce any films were piv­ot­ing to its stream­ing plat­form, Dis­ney+. Since the pan­demic be­gan, the com­pany’s “Mu­lan,” “Hamil­ton” and “Artemis Fowl” have gone di­rect to stream­ing, with “Mu­lan” made avail­able for a $30 pre­mium pur­chase by sub­scribers. Dis­ney has de­clined to share dig­i­tal grosses for “Mu­lan,” though the live-ac­tion re­make has un­der­per­formed in the­aters over­seas.

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