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Omicron Variant Threatens 2022 Release Slate: Many Movies Delayed

Uh oh…here we go again. As the biggest movie of the year is finally coming out today, many studios have delayed some of their early 2022 movies until the spring, or even the middle of the year. Maybe these delays were due to studios reshuffling their movies, but with the highly transmissible Omicron COVID variant now pretty much widespread in every part of the world, it seems to be that we will be looking at more movie delays within the following months, as many countries are adopting “circuit breaker” approaches to contain the variant. In many provinces of Canada, for example, movie theaters, sports venues, and restaurants will be capped at 50% capacity with proof of vaccination required to enter, and social distancing will be reintegrated in large venues like grocery shops, as the federal government asks to cancel Christmas gatherings, while the pace for booster shots and rapid tests have been accelerating. Seems like déjà vu? It doesn’t look very good right now for most of the world…

However, Spider-Man: No Way Home IS playing in theaters now, and a longer run may benefit from Omicron concerns, especially if box-office legs can (potentially) make it the first movie to reach 1 billion dollars since the COVID-19 pandemic. Montréal IMAX theaters have been sold-out, but due to capacity changes, a huge conundrum is currently happening on the Cineplex website…it’s going to be even more hectic than pre-sales having to refund every single ticket. Now, onto every single delay that happened within the past two days, with most of them citing Omicron concerns:

  • Guy Ritchie’s Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre, originally slated to release on January 21st will (hopefully) make its way on March 18th, 2022.
  • John Madden’s Operation Mincemeat will be moving to April 22nd, previously slated to release on January 14th, citing Omicron concerns in Europe.
  • Michael Bay’s Ambulance will be hopefully driving to theatres on April 8th, previously slated to release on February 18th. It was supposed to be one of the first blockbusters of the new year.
  • Tarik Saleh’s The Contractor slightly moves from March 18th to April 1st.
  • David Leitch’s Bullet Train choo choos (pun intended, sorry) from April 8th to July 15th.
  • Finally (for now), Olivia Newman’s Where The Crawdads Sing will be moving from June 24 to July 22nd.

The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 and its diverse variants (including Omicron) is to wear a well-fitted mask and get vaccinated immediately. If you’re eligible for an additional shot of the vaccine, go for it as soon as you can. You can find information on the vaccine and book an appointment at https://www.vaccines.gov/

Source: Film Updates, Deadline, Screen Rant, Deadline

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Written by Maxance Vincent

Maxance Vincent is a freelance film and TV critic, and a recent graduate of a BFA in Film Studies at the Université de Montréal. He is currently finishing a specialization in Video Game Studies, focusing on the psychological effects regarding the critical discourse on violent video games.

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