Black Widow to debut on streaming and in theaters

Poster for Black Widow

Oh me, oh my. Black Widow, the Marvel Studios film that was delayed by a year by the COVID-19 pandemic, will debut on Disney Plus as well as in theaters in July, according to the Deadline entertainment news website.

Here’s an excerpt:

Just when it looked like studios were going back to a theatrical window release pattern with today’s news of Regal and Warner Bros’ deal, Disney has smashes that to bits.

Disney said Tuesday that it is opening both of its key summer events pics Cruella and Marvel’s Black Widow simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access (which is usually $30 a purchase extra for subscribers) in most Disney+ markets on Friday, May 28 and Friday, July 9, respectively.

To recap: 2020 was the first year since 2009 without a Marvel Studios film. That was because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest news indicates that COVID still is having an impact on movie releases. In recent weeks, here in the U.S., there had been optimism that vaccinations are putting a serious dent into COVID. This latest news is a sign things aren’t back to normal yet.

To be sure, No Time to Die currently isn’t due out until late September in many countries (including the U.K. and Brazil) with other countries (such as the U.S.) until a week later.

There’s no reason for James Bond film fans to get upset yet. But No Time to Die making it’s current release date isn’t necessarily a sure thing.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: It turns out The King’s Man, prequel to Matthew Vaughn’s two Kingsman films, has been delayed yet again to December from August. OK. It has been delayed quite a bit already already, so what’s a few more months?

M:I 7, 8 no longer shooting back-to-back, Deadline says

Tom Cruise hasn’t had such luck combatting COVID-19.

The seventh and eighth Mission: Impossible films are no longer filming back-to-back, the Deadline entertainment website reported.

M:I 7 has run into delays stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, M:I star-producer Tom Cruise has other duties.

“Sources said this is simply down to the shifting release calendar,” according to Deadline. Cruise “will now be needed on promotional duties by the studio for Top Gun: Maverick ahead of that film’s planned release on July 2, and will be out of action for a period. Once that film has rolled out – hopefully to packed cinemas in a post-Covid world – production on MI: 8 can begin, meaning the gap shouldn’t be too impactful.”

Over the weekend, the U.K. Sun tabloid reported that M:I 7 had been forced to cut short production in the Middle East for COVID-related reasons. Director Christopher McQuarrie appeared to dispute that in an Instagram post. “Now back to London for a few finishing touches. All aboard for our greatest challenge yet…” the director wrote.

Paramount’s original plan was to film two M:I films at once so they could be released a year apart. Marvel Studios did something similar with two Avengers movies released in 2018 and 2019. At one time, Bonds 24 and 25 were to do the same thing. But star Daniel Craig vetoed such a move. Bond 24 became SPECTRE. Bond 25, years later, is on hold as No Time to Die.

Bond 25 questions: The obvious edition

No Time to Die poster

Gee, there are a lot of stories that No Time to Die might get delayed again. The newest is a story by the Deadline entertainment news outlet. Naturally, the blog has questions.

Is this a surprise?

No, unless you’re a COVID-19 denier.

Admittedly, there has been no official announcement. But the U.K. is locking down (again). COVID-19 is a mess in the U.S. There are are reports that theaters in Japan (a major Asian market) may be shut down again.

There’s a new strain of COVID-19 going around that’s easier to spread. Regardless, deniers persist that the virus is “just the flu.” There are reports of people dying from COVID-19 while still claiming it’s a hoax.

What’s more, non-movie events are feeling the impact from COVID-19. The Detroit Auto Show, which had been scheduled for September 2021, has been canceled. The 2021 Master’s golf tournament (which had no spectators for a delayed 2020 event), will only have limited spectators this year.

Golf tournaments are outdoor events, unlike most movie showings.

Long story short: It doesn’t take much imagination to think COVID-19 could have an impact on No Time to Die again.

Does anyone really think there will be a surge of moviegoers attending indoor theaters in April?

See above.

Why write about this?

Because Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio, tends to delay announcing delays until it has to. That happened in March 2020. It happened in fall 2020 (even while No Time to Die corporate partners were were releasing their Bond 25 promotions).

MGM tends to only announce things until it has to do so. Also, MGM reportedly is seeking a buyer. That could also affect Bond 25/No Time to Die’s release date.

To be fair, the new Deadine story has this passage: “We heard separately this morning that 007 promotional partners have already been given a heads up that the final Daniel Craig movie is bound to move to autumn. No definite release date has been set yet.”

Better late than never in terms of MGM’s trying to learn from past cluelessness.