- On Thursday, MGM and Sony both announced that major films from their 2021 slate would be postponed.
- "No Time to Die" will now debut in October.
- Sony has postponed "Uncharted," "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" and "Cinderella," among others.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage in the United States, Hollywood is once again shuffling its movie releases.
On Thursday, MGM and Sony both announced that major films from their 2021 slate would be postponed. Among those titles are the latest James Bond flick "No Time to Die" and "Ghostbusters: Afterlife."
Here are the latest calendar moves:
- "No Time to Die" delayed until Oct. 8, 2021
- "Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway" pushed to June 11, 2021
- "Cinderella" moves to July 16, 2021
- "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" will now debut Nov. 11, 2021
- "Uncharted" has been postponed until Feb. 11, 2022
The U.S. is recording at least 194,252 new Covid-19 cases and at least 3,054 virus-related deaths each day, based on a seven-day average calculated by CNBC using Johns Hopkins University data. Those figures have given studios pause when it comes to big blockbuster releases.
Studios are worried that continued increases in coronavirus cases will keep moviegoers away from cinemas even with new titles playing on big screens. Many of these films have large production budgets and rely on strong ticket sales to break even.
"Given the uncertainty of the marketplace, a change of date is certainly better than a change of venue so to speak from big screen to small screen," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
For example, "No Time to Die" has an estimated budget of $250 million. Adding marketing costs, which are typically half of what is spent on production, MGM needs to recoup at least $400 million.
"Spectre," the James Bond film released in 2015 garnered more than $879 million at the global box office while its predecessor, 2012's "Skyfall" topped $1.1 billion. With "No Time to Die" expected to be actor Daniel Craig's last turn as the famed 007, ticket sales were expected to be high.
"No Time to Die" has seen several delays. It was first pushed from its November 2019 release when Danny Boyle, who was supposed to write and direct the film, left the project. It bounced between a few dates before landing a release in April 2020. However, the coronavirus pandemic pushed it to November 2020 and then to April 2021. Now it's headed to October.
"Those who have their eye on the long game understand that for a film like Bond, and many others, the prestige, exclusivity, and revenue generating potential of the movie theater is still undeniable and indeed still worth waiting for," Dergarabedian said.
Sony, which announced four film moves Thursday, was one of the studios that had opted to shift most of its 2020 schedule to 2021. "Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway," "Cinderella" and "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" have all been pushed until later this year while the Tom Holland-led "Uncharted" will now arrive in 2022.
Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal and CNBC. Universal is releasing "No Time To Die" internationally while MGM handles the domestic release.