To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives would be the understatement of the century. Not only has it severely limited our abilities to socialize and enjoy some carefree time outside of the house, it has just about wrecked the entertainment many of us take for granted.
We’ve told you about the way sports have been greatly affected by the pandemic — including our country’s precious NFL — but the new blockbuster movies and TV shows we count on watching every year have been largely missing lately. Here are some of the most highly anticipated films and series that have had their release dates significantly delayed due to the pandemic.
‘No Time To Die’
Back in March, the world was gearing up for the 25th entry into the immortal James Bond movie franchise, as “No Time to Die” was slated to hold its premiere in London. However, the film’s release — which has been anticipated since 2015 — was pushed back to November in the early days of March, making it one of the first projects to delay its unveiling because of the pandemic. Following the dismal release of “Tenet” in theaters across America this summer, the November release of “No Time to Die” has been called “uncertain” by MGM studio brass.
‘Black Widow’ And Other Marvel Movies
Like clockwork, Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have been hitting theaters and raking in cash every summer this past decade. But this year will be first time since 2010 that there hasn’t been a new MCU film entertaining us during the hottest months. “Black Widow,” the standalone entry starring Scarlett Johansson as her mysterious Avengers character was originally slated to hit theaters in May but that was pushed back to November. Recently, another delay has been rumored, which could push the film into 2021 to avoid a disastrous return.
Since the MCU movies are released in a strategic order, the delay of “Black Widow” means the titles scheduled to follow it have also been delayed indefinitely, including “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” and “Thor: Love and Thunder.”
‘Wonder Woman 1984’
Between “Black Widow” and “Wonder Woman 1984,” 2020 seemed like it would be a banner year for women-fronted — and women-directed — superhero blockbusters, but that’s looking iffy now. The highly anticipated sequel to 2017’s “Wonder Woman” was originally set to drop in June, then it was moved to August, then October. As of this writing, “Wonder Woman 1984” has been pushed to Christmas, making this whole experience a nightmare for fans of the Amazonian.
Batman is another superhero who could potentially save us from this unending boredom but he’s been sidelined as well. The latest big-screen reboot of the Caped Crusader, starring Robert Pattinson, wasn’t set to hit theaters until June 2021 but it’s likely been pushed to 2022 because of health issues on the set.
Production of “The Batman” was first delayed in March due to pandemic precautions but when filming resumed in September, it quickly got delayed again after someone involved with the film tested positive for COVID-19. Reports indicate it was Pattinson himself that came down with it.
One of the biggest events in TV that was scheduled for this year has been bumped because of the pandemic. HBO Max stole NBC’s immortal “Friends” from Netflix this year and reportedly paid $20 million to get the original cast back together for a reunion special. The event was slated to happen in 2020 but it has now been delayed indefinitely. The delay comes partly from the fact that the reunion special will be filmed in front of a live audience, which obviously isn’t feasible at the moment.
‘Top Gun: Maverick’
When you’ve been waiting 34 years for a sequel, what’s one more? The followup to 1986’s “Top Gun” was supposed to land in theaters in June but Paramount pushed it to December in the early days of the pandemic. More recently, the studio decided to delay the release of “Top Gun: Maverick” until July 2021, meaning it’s been put off by more than a year because of the global health crisis. It seems American movie theaters are the real “Danger Zone” right now.
‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’
The 2018 superhero flick, “Venom,” was a smash with audiences, making more than $850 million worldwide. The followup was slated to hit theaters this autumn but Sony wasted little time in giving it a major delay.
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is now set for a June 2021 release, a decision the studio announced in April. Tom Hardy will be back as the title character alongside Woody Harrelson and Michelle Williams.
‘In The Heights’
As the severity of the coronavirus pandemic became clear in April, many movie studios started pushing back their upcoming blockbusters and “In the Heights” was among them. The film version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pre-“Hamilton” Broadway hit was supposed to premiere in June but Warner Bros. nixed that idea quickly and gave it a lengthy delay.
The movie, which stars Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins and Leslie Grace, now won’t debut until June 2021. The cast of “In the Heights” saw a cut of it before the delay hit and one person described it as “overwhelming.”
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Another bummer for lovers of big-budget musicals came when Universal pressed pause on its screen version of “Wicked.” This highly anticipated adaptation of the Broadway smash wasn’t supposed to hit theaters until December 2021 but that was evidently still too soon in such an uncertain climate. The studio announced in April that the planned release of “Wicked” had to be bumped to free up space for other delayed movies in the 2021 calendar. They have yet to announce a new date for fans to look forward to.
‘The Bachelor Summer Games’
“The Bachelor” has been a staple of ABC’s primetime lineup for nearly 20 years and it was slated to get a spinoff this summer. “The Bachelor Summer Games” was meant to air opposite NBC’s coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but it had to be pushed back a year when the games were delayed.
The show is expected to be similar to “The Bachelor Winter Games,” a miniseries that aired in 2018 opposite the Winter Olympics and saw previous contestants from “The Bachelor” compete in athletic challenges.
Since 2001, lovers of action cinema and car chases have had a new movie in the Fast & Furious franchise every couple years. After 2017’s “The Fate of the Furious” made more than $1 billion worldwide, expectations were high for the next main entry, “F9,” which was scheduled to debut in May.
But now there will be nearly a four-year gap between movies — the longest ever for this series — as Universal delayed the next installment until April 2021. The studio made the decision very early in the pandemic, announcing the delay in mid-March.
Similar to “Top Gun,” “Ghostbusters” is another 1980s cinematic treasure that was scheduled to get new life this year, until the pandemic crashed the party. “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is set to be another reboot of the beloved comedy/sci-fi series, starring Paul Rudd and Finn Wolfhard alongside original franchise actors including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson.
The buzzy new blockbuster was penciled in for a July release but Sony delayed it to March 2021 after the impact of the health crisis became clear. Director Jason Reitman actually said the delay could be good for the film, allowing him to tweak it more before its release.
‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run’
Losing our cinematic releases to Canada is a tough pill to swallow for many Americans, but it’s what has happened this year. Not only did “Tenet” hold its premiere north of the border, the folks up there also got first dibs on “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run.”
The new animated comedy was slated to hit theaters in August but it only did so in Canada, leaving Americans to miss out on the latest adventure of Bikini Bottom’s most famous resident. “Sponge on the Run” will not be released in the U.S. until 2021 and it will skip theaters entirely, debuting as a premium streaming title.
‘The Little Mermaid’
If you grew up on Disney movies, it’s tough not to have a soft spot for “The Little Mermaid.” The 1989 animated classic is credited with igniting the “Disney Renaissance,” setting the studio on a path of acclaim and box-office dominance through the 1990s. The movie is getting its own live-action remake — with Halle Bailey set to star as Ariel — which was believed to be ready for release in 2021. However, the film’s production was suspended by the pandemic right before it was scheduled to start shooting in March, meaning its release will surely be pushed back.
As of late July, no on-set work had begun but voice-recording sessions had reportedly started.
Disney+’s Marvel Shows
Along with the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies being delayed by the pandemic, the franchise’s TV universe has been put on hiatus by the event as well. Disney+ had several high-profile Marvel shows slated to debut in 2020, until everything went wrong.
“WandaVision,” a quirky-looking dramedy that follows Scarlet Witch and Vision, as well as “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” which follows the two title characters, were both impacted. “WandaVision” has been pushed to December after it was initially slated for August and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” will likely be delayed until 2021, Forbes estimates.
‘Minions: The Rise Of Gru’
Parents will have to wait almost a full year to entertain their kids with a new entry in the “Despicable Me” universe, which is unwelcome news in this time of endless boredom. “Minions: The Rise of Gru” was ready to hit theaters this summer but Universal made the sage decision to bump it all the way back to summer 2021, when theaters will hopefully be filled with families again. This prequel to the original “Despicable Me” will see Steve Carell return as Gru, alongside Taraji P. Henson and Julie Andrews.
As you can tell from this list, many of the anticipated movies that have been pushed are sequels, reboots or other additions to existing franchises. However, “Infinite” was one of the most bankable-looking original titles on the calendar.
Mark Wahlberg will star in this sci-fi/action blockbuster, from the director of “The Equalizer” and “Training Day,” as a man who is coming to grips with the shocking fact that he’s lived multiple lives. It was meant for an August release but now won’t hit theaters until Memorial Day weekend of 2021.
Anyone looking forward to this fresh adventure with Dwayne Johnson will have to hold on for more than a year longer. Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” was going to set sail in July but the studio bumped it back until late July 2021 because of the pandemic. Johnson, who is a producer on the film and co-stars with Emily Blunt, explained the move to his Instagram followers in April, saying they didn’t want “Jungle Cruise” to debut until Disney’s theme parks and cruise lines were fully operational again.
It sounds like they’ve got some massive cross-promotional plans for this one, which makes sense when you consider it’s based on one of the company’s most iconic park attractions.
Yet another Disney-produced flick that has seen major changes to its unveiling is Pixar’s latest film, “Soul.” In April, the movie’s anticipated June premiere was pushed back to November, where it still sits on the release calendar.
But Variety has reported that “Soul” likely won’t hit theaters then and may not get a release into cinemas at all. The outlet cited a source within the studio who said the film might debut on Disney+ right out of the gate, making its release plan potentially similar to the recent live-action “Mulan” remake.
NBCUniversal’s highly touted new streaming service, Peacock, will see one of its most anticipated new original shows delayed. “Girls5Eva” is a new comedy from Tina Fey that will star Sara Bareilles as a former member of a one-hit wonder girl group that decides to get back together long after their heyday.
The series, which was apparently eyeing a 2020 debut, is now slated to start in 2021. Other Peacock originals that have been pushed to next year include “Angelyne,” “Dr. Death” and “Rutherford Falls.”
‘Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway’
Another animated comedy aimed at kids that has been greatly delayed is Sony’s “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway.” The first film made more than $350 million worldwide in 2018, setting up the sequel as a highly anticipated one.
The furry star’s new adventure was supposed to drop in April before it was bumped back to August, when optimism about the pandemic’s effects was still somewhat high. Now, the film is slated for release in January 2021, with the studio still planning to do a full release in theaters, rather than shifting to a premium-priced streaming debut.
It’s hard to believe that there’s only been one new addition to the “Saw” film franchise in the past decade but “Spiral” was set to kick off a new vision for the horror series this year. This entry — the ninth of the franchise — will bring some needed star power, boasting Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson among its main cast. Audiences were going to be able to see it in May but the pandemic proved to be scarier than anything the writers could dream up. Lionsgate decided to bump it back by more than a year, setting it for a May 2021 debut.
After Sony had so much success with “Venom,” the studio decided to make another movie that follows a villain from Marvel’s Spider-Man comics in “Morbius.” This intriguing blockbuster will follow Academy Award winner Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius, a vampire and vigilante who acts as a sometime adversary to the Web Slinger. “Morbius” was penciled in for a late July release but has been pushed to March 2021 as of now.
‘A Quiet Place Part II’
The 2018 horror flick, “A Quiet Place,” was a tense new piece of intellectual property that drew praise from critics and audiences alike. The movie made more than $340 million worldwide and saw the real-life husband-wife duo of John Krasinski and Emily Blunt playing a couple onscreen who were trying to survive the presence of blind monsters who hunt by sound.
Krasinski directed the first one and will be back directing this one but fans will have to wait longer than expected to be scared by his work. Instead of dropping in September, “A Quiet Place Part II” will now hit theaters in April 2021 after Paramount made the call to push it back.
‘Y: The Last Man’
A screen adaptation of the acclaimed comic book series, “Y: The Last Man,” has been in development for years but just as fans were pumped to see it finally happening, the coronavirus dealt them another blow.
FX on Hulu will be the home of this live-action series, which follows the last male left alive after a mysterious event suddenly kills all mammals with a Y chromosome. Call it ironic that the series would see its own life fate affected by a deadly pandemic. The show was set to debut in 2020 but it now looks to be starting in 2021 at the earliest.
One of October’s most anticipated horror movies is being pushed to next year so that filmgoers can experience its scares together. “Candyman” will be a reboot of the terrifying 1992 film that starred Tony Todd as a ghost who can be summoned by anyone who says his name five times while looking at a mirror.
Oscar winner Jordan Peele wrote the script for the new version, giving it some serious credentials among viewers before its release. Director Nia DaCosta said the decision was made to bump it back to some time in 2021 so that it can get a proper theatrical run.
‘The French Dispatch’
It’s not just big-budget tentpole movies that are being affected by the pandemic, as titles with more indie cred are also getting bumped. “The French Dispatch” is one such project that will have film buffs waiting around a while longer. It’s the latest movie from acclaimed director Wes Anderson and its impressive cast includes Timothée Chalamet and Bill Murray.
The movie was meant to debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May but that event was scratched and its theatrical release for July was initially moved to October. That release date has also since been canceled, leaving “The French Dispatch” on indefinite hiatus.
‘John Wick 4’
Since 2014, the John Wick movies have made nearly $600 million worldwide at the box office, making them some of the most profitable R-rated action movies in Hollywood history. The beleaguered hitman, played by Keanu Reeves, was set to return in a fourth film in May 2021 but even that release date proved to not be far enough out in this crazy climate. Lionsgate made the call to shift “John Wick 4” to a 2022 release, which would be three years after the last entry.
‘The Matrix 4’
Speaking of highly anticipated Keanu Reeves sequels, his return to the Matrix will have to wait another year. “The Matrix 4” is set to be the first new film in that legendary sci-fi/action series since “The Matrix Revolutions,” which hit theaters way back in 2003.
The new entry would see original stars Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss returning to their roles and co-creator Lana Wachowski back in the director’s chair. The film was slated for a May 2021 release but has been pushed to April 2022 by Warner Bros. I guess even Neo couldn’t dodge the coronavirus.
‘The Lord Of The Rings’
This upcoming series ranks as one of the most anticipated across all of television, and fans will be waiting even longer to see it unfold. Amazon Prime Video’s small-screen adaptation of “The Lord of the Rings” was likely to debut in 2021 but it looks like the epic adventure will have to wait even longer to start.
The series will be a live-action prequel to the beloved and acclaimed movie trilogy and has been set for a five-season run. Production on the ambitious project was underway in New Zealand when the pandemic hit, shutting it down for four months before work restarted.