In response to the global pandemic of coronavirus, Walt Disney Studios has postponed the release date for “Black Widow,” the Marvel tentpole starring Scarlett Johansson that was originally slated for an international rollout beginning April 29, followed by opening in the United States on May 1. Disney has not announced a new date for the Marvel production, directed by Cate Shortland.
The film featuring Johansson as the titular S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and savvy KGB assassin was reported to be the actress’ final participation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The “Black Widow” script, penned by Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson, is set after the events of “Captain America: Civil War” and finds Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow on the lam and heading to Russia to confront her past. The cast also includes Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt, and Ray Winstone.
The announcement of the postponement of “Black Widow” adds to a wave of industry cancellations on all levels due to the spreading virus. Disney postponed the release date of “Mulan,” originally March 27, indefinitely, as well as Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ “New Mutants” (April 3) and Searchlight’s “Antlers” (April 17). No new dates have been announced.
Disney also recently halted production on a Marvel project, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” the studio’s high-profile Disney+ series that marked the streamer’s first original MCU effort. Shoots had already begun in Prague in early March, and in Puerto Rico in January. It remains unclear if the disruption will impact the series’ August release window. Disney also canceled the London red carpet for the European premiere of “Mulan.”
Other studios to pull major tentpole titles include Paramount Pictures with “A Quiet Place 2,” originally set for an international rollout beginning March 18, followed by a stateside opening on March 20. Paramount also delayed the release of its romantic comedy “The Lovebirds,” starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, which was set for April 3. Neither film has a planned release date at this stage.
Universal Studios is also pushing the ninth “Fast and Furious” film off its May release date and rescheduling it for almost a year later. “F9” was set to open May, 22 but will now open April 2 in 2021.
Productions on films and TV series, from “Riverdale” to Netflix’s “Russian Doll” and “The Prom,” have already been halted. Festivals and flagship industry events such as the TCM Classic Film Festival, CinemaCon, and the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards have been stalled over coronavirus concerns, following in the footsteps of the cancellation of SXSW. IndieWire is keeping track of all industry matters affected by coronavirus here.
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