Faced with the mass closure of movie theaters across the globe, Walt Disney Studios is indefinitely delaying the release of one of its biggest summer films, the Marvel superhero film “Black Widow.” As the coronavirus pandemic continues to shake Hollywood, the Scarlett Johansson film, which had been set to open May 1, follows Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II,” Universal’s “F9" and MGM’s Bond film “No Time to Die” in shifting their planned release dates as studios scramble to shelter their most anticipated films from the rapidly cratering box office.
Disney, which acquired 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios) last year, also will postpone the releases of Searchlight’s period dramedy “The Personal History of David Copperfield” and 20th Century’s Amy Adams thriller “The Woman in the Window,” previously slated to open on May 8 and 15, respectively.
The decision by the industry’s dominant studio to delay its biggest summer release starkly illustrates the impact the deepening global pandemic is having on Hollywood’s near-term prospects. Anchored by tentpoles with broad appeal such as “F9" and “Black Widow,” the summer typically accounts for as much as 40 per cent of the industry’s total annual revenues. Last summer, Disney released three films that each earned more than $1 billion worldwide — "The Lion King,” “Toy Story 4" and “Aladdin” — while Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame,” which opened April 26, one week before the official start of the summer season, took in $2.8 billion globally to become the biggest box office hit of all time.