It might appear that Sony just gutted their 2020 schedule. WTF just happened? Did the studio suddenly abandon all hope in its slate?
That’s hardly the case: it’s just insurance for the future.
And, yes, by and large, all the schedule changes that occurred tonight were in response to the current coronavirus climate.
With various media reports saying that the U.S. hasn’t peaked yet in regards to its number of COVID-19 cases, no one knows exactly when cinemas are coming back, nor do we know when feature production will resume.
As I mentioned earlier, Q1 and Q2 2021 will be in dire need of movies given their production delay, and what’s occurring here is Sony is filling those holes — the assumption being we’ll all be OK by then. Many of the films being moved, I hear, are still in post production, except for Uncharted which is completely paused like several other productions during the coronavirus pandemic. As of right now, the first major motion picture to open should cinemas come back early is Paramount’s Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run over Memorial Day weekend.
Let’s talk about what remains standing on Sony’s 2020 schedule: Launching Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4, is the Paul W.S. Anderson directed, Milla Jovovich starring feature take on the Capcom game Monster Hunter. Next will be Lord & Miller’s animated feature Connected which has the traditional Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs slot of the third weekend of September, Sept. 18. Arguably, it was Sony that always proved animated fare in the early autumn widow worked going back to Open Season.
As of today, Sony moved up the Paul Weitz directed, Kevin Hart drama Fatherhood to Oct. 23 from its original MLK weekend of Jan. 15, 2021. Remember, MGM’s Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson just moved to MLK 2021. So now a potential awards contender for Sony goes earlier in the fall. Also with the Tom Hanks WWII Greyhound movie shifting from Fathers Day weekend June 12 to TBD; that’s also another title that could possibly find its way into awards-festival season during Q4.
Also, Sony still has a grip on Oct. 2, which they’re designating to an untitled Sony/Marvel sequel, which many believe is really Venom 2. There’s buzz that a trailer for Venom 2 will drop this week. Also remaining on the Sony schedule is Kevin Hart-Woody Harrelson’s Man From Toronto on Nov. 20, the Kristen Stewart-Mackenzie Davis comedy The Happiest Season on Nov. 25 and the Christmas Day release of Elle and Dakota Fanning’s WWII drama The Nightingale.
All the moves announced tonight felt sensible, in fact, the movies are now in better spots than they were.
Peter Rabbit 2 was a movie that saw its first 2018 installment play well in the winter, and into a Presidents Day weekend, and this time the sequel is jumping off into a 4-day MLK weekend. Very good. If Peter Rabbit 2 was sticking to Aug. 8, it would be playing into a perfect storm that is Warner Bros.’ every-person movie Wonder Woman 1984 on Aug. 14. Peter Rabbit 2 will now face off against MGM’s wide break of Respect, Universal’s 355, and New Line’s Mortal Kombat.
Now, Marvel’s Morbius could have stayed on July 31 against Lionsgate’s femme Kristen Wiig comedy Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar. But as we said, 2021 is going to need movies, and an event movie that’s on its way to being finished could be better suited during spring break on March 19 next year where Paramount currently has an untitled Paranormal Activity sequel and Lionsgate has Nicolas Cage’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife moves away from Universal/Blumhouse’s untitled Purge movie on July 10, and avoids playing into Christopher Nolan’s Tenet on July 17 and over to March 5, 2021 which is where Uncharted originally was (against Paramount’s Jackass, and untitled Universal and Warner Bros. movies). Uncharted, starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, as we previously told you is paused for the moment, so that jumps to Oct. 8, 2021 which provides more than enough time for completion. What did Sony have on that date originally? Well, an untitled Marvel movie, which now moves to an undated spot.
So, do you see how all that worked out?