Funny… it doesn’t look that scary. But we all know the truth, don’t we? That damned virus is crushing everything in it’s path, including the cinema.
This is a public service announcement, from the Scariest Things! Please follow your local health officials recommendations for social distancing and proper hygene. That means staying at home, bingeing horror movies on Shudder or Amazon. Feel free to browse our reviews and dead lists for inspirations. Like all entertainment in this country, Hollywood has felt the heavy foot of COVID-19, something far scarier than anything that has hit the movie screen this year. (And a lot scarier than the tepid fare of Gretel and Hansel and Turn, for sure.)
In order to get out of the way of bad box office, and bracing for the imminent prohibition of people showing up in large theaters, the Los Angeles Times has announced a number of big movies that were due in the next couple of months that are being put off until later. And that includes some pretty significant Horror films:
A Quiet Place 2 (Paramount):
Originally scheduled for release March 20. No new date released. Paramount is banking on this to be a big hit, so it makes total sense to move this film to a later date, as the original was a surprise financial blockbuster. It will be interesting to see if they bump this to the Halloween season, where it would go up against Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho (September 25) and Blumhouse’s Halloween Kills, which releases October 16. Bumping this seems like a really smart move.
This movie has been anticipated by horror junkies, but it hadn’t gotten a big marketing push from Searchlight yet… possibly because of the Disney merger. Searchlight, was formerly FOX Searchlight, the art-house arm of the Fox studio, and to be honest, I’m not sure if Disney knows what to do with it. My hope here, somewhat selfishly, is that Searchlight allows Antlers to go on the festival tour for a while to generate some good buzz, and then re-appear ready to go in the fall with a bit of good buzz with it. That is assuming, of course, that it’s as good as the trailer suggests it is.
New Mutants (Fox)
Original release date April 3, 2020 (wide). No new release date yet. Poor New Mutants. They just can’t catch a break. Re-written to be more of a superhero-horror film, then caught in the studio merger of Fox by Disney, seemingly forever in limbo and likely to remain there for a while. This would seem to be a good August property. One of those “Let’s see what happens!” landing spots that sometimes pans out for movies caught between genres. The cast is certainly compelling, but projects like this rarely turn out well.
Movies to track:
Don’t be surprised if more movies later in April and May follow suit. COVID-19 isn’t likely to abate any time soon, and if it follows the same path it did in Asia and Europe, we’re just getting started. So… here are some other notable films coming up at risk:
Scheduled for April 24. Depending how good this movie is, they might want to move into November or December, if its ambitious premise turns out to be as good in execution. A June counter-programming release might also work. If you get out of the way of Wonder Woman, in June, only Top Gun looms in July, and this would be a good movie to play against that. This certainly seems to be going after the art-house horror crowd, and could be this year’s Midsommar.
Scheduled for May 15. Maybe we’re out of the corona grip by this time. This movie with a slight shift could probably do pretty well in any release date because of the star power. It also is less risky to shift this film, as it was not an expensive effort. Ironically, they moved this Saw re-imagining from October 23 to May in order to get out of the way of Halloween Kills. I bet they may want that date back, but the distributors will probably wait to see how the crisis plays out before pulling the trigger. To date, the only May release that shifted is the Fast and Furious franchise installment F9, which is moving to next year (!)