Are Studios Starting to Think Twice About Theatrical Releases Once Again?

No Time To Die

Has any movie been delayed as much as Cary Joji Fukunaga‘s upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die has been? Probably not. The twenty-fifth film in the franchise has been delayed four times now, originally scheduled to hit theaters back in November of 2019 if you can believe it.

At this point, audiences are hopeful that they will be able to see Daniel Craig‘s final outing as Bond this October. And although the studio behind the film, MGM, allegedly won’t delay the film any further due to budgetary restrictions, the same cannot be said about other projects that were initially heading to the theaters this year.

Because of the ongoing surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant, it appears as though many studios are having second thoughts about releasing some of the most anticipated movies of the year in theatres. Don’t be surprised if a few of your highly anticipated films make the move to streaming instead.

Andy SerkisVenom: Let There Be Carnage was originally scheduled for a theatrical release on September 24th, but just last week, it was announced the film had been delayed to October 15th. However, according to new reporting from The Hollywood Reporter, it seems as though the Venom sequel could move yet again.

And Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania has recently been bought by Amazon for a whopping $100 million-plus, meaning it will premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video instead of going to theaters this October.

Some other hotly anticipated films that are still scheduled to be released in theaters this year include Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Top Gun: Maverick, but at this point, it wouldn’t be a major shock to hear news of both films getting delayed or simply moving to a streaming platform instead for a certain price.

Earlier, Marvel Studios’ Black Widow was released in theaters back in early July with a simultaneous Disney+ Premier Access release, meaning that a large portion of the film’s viewers watched the film at home instead of at their local theater, thus resulting in the film receiving a lower box office gross than usual. MCU projects typically earn hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office, whereas Black Widow managed to earn $367.9 million against a $200 million budget. It’s not awful by any means, but for a Marvel movie, the earnings are surprisingly low.

And more recently, James Gunn‘s The Suicide Squad seems to be having a bit of a struggle with box office earnings, which has currently earned $118.1 million against a budget of $185 million. Compare that to the first Suicide Squad‘s $746.8 million and you’ll be left wondering what happened.

It’s simple really – the COVID-19 Delta Variant concerns as well as the same-day theatrical/streaming plan that has been a trend in the industry lately. Because of the increasing concern over the Delta variant, it’s highly possible that a few more major releases coming this year will have a similar release strategy.

Warner Bros. says it intends to end day-and-date releases in 2022, and will instead abide by a 45-day exclusive window. Whether or not this is a good decision is yet to be answered, but, at the end of the day, the theatrical/streaming strategy may last longer than you’d think for other studios.


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Written by Caillou Pettis

Caillou Pettis is a professional film critic and has been writing about film for several years across various different publications. Ever since the age of nine, film and the art of filmmaking have been his number one passion. When hes

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