As we head into the holiday season, studios typically gear up to show off their hottest releases for audiences to flock to during their Thanksgiving and year-end time off with family and friends. While the better part of 2020’s plans have cleared out, a few theatrical dates held out for 2020 big screen dates. Not anymore from Disney's side of things. The Mouse House has just left its last two big-budget movies undated, as Shawn Levy’s Free Guy and Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile will not be coming out this year.
Free Guy and Death on the Nile, both titles under Disney’s 20th Century Studios banner, were set to hit theaters on December 11 and December 18, respectively. The studio has now officially announced that both holiday movies are “unset,” leaving Wonder Woman 1984 alone as the only major movie left for a 2020 theatrical release.
This decision is not surprising considering movie theaters have yet to get back on track due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following Halloween weekend in particular, U.S. hospitals have experienced a 20% surge in cases, with Tuesday this week becoming the second-highest single day tally so far, per CNBC. 55% of movie theaters in the United States remain closed down, chiefly with the two largest markets, Los Angeles and New York, not open for business.
Disney previously decided to pull Pixar’s Soul out from a theatrical release and move it to a Christmas Disney+ release. The animated film featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey will be available to subscribers without any extra charge. The studio previously released the live-action Mulan straight-to-VOD for an additional price of $30, an experiment that executives said was a “one-off” idea, and they've since stuck to their word.
Considering both Free Guy and Death on the Nile are big budget films with major box office potential, one would expect the studio to move these releases to next year alongside Disney’s other highly-anticipated major live-action movies Black Widow and Jungle Cruise. There is a ton of room in December for both films alongside West Side Story and Black Adam, but the studio holding onto the titles for an additional year is a bummer.
There are still a select few movies expected to still make release in 2020 even without Free Guy and Death on the Nile on the calendar, namely two Universal films. Blumhouse’s horror comedy Freaky is coming to theaters next week on Friday, November 13, and DreamWorks’ Croods: the New Age is expected to hit theaters this Thanksgiving. All eyes are on Wonder Woman 1984 now, the only live action blockbuster yet to flee from the 2020 theatrical calendar.
Last week, WarnerMedia CEO Ann Sarnoff provided an update about the likelihood of Wonder Woman 1984 still coming out this Christmas, stating it would depend on “whether there are any other surges.” We’ll keep you posted on Patty Jenkins sequel, but in the meantime check out next year’s full list of dates with CinemaBlend’s 2021 movie release schedule.