Entertainment

Universal shuffles horror movie slate as coronavirus pandemic worsens

Key Points
  • Universal Pictures has pushed back the releases of "Candyman," "The Forever Purge," "Halloween Kills" and "Halloween Ends."
  • The move comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has skyrocketed in recent weeks. 
A scene for the movie Halloween released in 2018. 
Source: Universal Studios

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen in the U.S., Universal Pictures is pushing a number of its upcoming horror films to new release dates.

On Wednesday, the company announced that "Candyman," a film produced by MGM and Jordan Peele's Monkeypaw Productions, in association with Bron Creative, would move to Oct. 16. The film was originally slated for release on Sept. 25. 

Blumhouse's "The Forever Purge" has moved to July 9, 2021. It was initially expected to be released this month.

"Halloween Kills," the sequel to 2018's "Halloween," which brought back Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, is now slated for Oct. 15, 2021, pushed from Oct. 16, 2020. Additionally, "Halloween Ends," which would be a follow up to "Halloween Kills," has been postponed until Oct. 14, 2022.

It's not too surprising that Universal is reevaluating its release calendar. On Tuesday, the U.S. set a fresh record for new coronavirus cases reported in a single day, reaching more than 60,000. Outbreaks continue to spread across a number of states in the South and West including Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, which have accounted for nearly half of all new cases in the U.S. in recent days.

Some state governors have responded to the surge in Covid-19 cases by tightening restrictions on the types of businesses that can operate or requiring masks be worn in public places. 

Already Disney and Warner Bros. have continued to punt the releases of "Mulan" and "Tenet" out of July and into August, amid concerns that movie theaters will not be able to reopen in many states.

And last month AMC, the largest theater chain in the U.S., pushed the phased reopening of its cinemas to July 30. The company had initially planned on starting to reopen theaters in mid-July in time for the previously scheduled releases of "Tenet" and "Mulan." 

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of Universal Pictures and CNBC.

Correction: "Halloween Ends" has been postponed until Oct. 14, 2022. An earlier version misstated the movie's title.

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