Sailor Moon is the latest anime franchise to take a hit from the ongoing pandemic. Earlier today, reports went live announcing that Sailor Moon Eternal is delaying the release of its first film. The franchise was slated to re-enter theaters in Japan on September 11, but that date has been shifted to 2021.
According to the report, Toei Animation made the call to delay the release date. The first Sailor Moon Eternal movie will debut on January 8, 2021 to give the pandemic more time to run its course (via ANN). As this film will be the first Sailor Moon feature screened in theaters after 20+ years, Toei Animation doesn't want to mess up its chances.
As for the second movie, the follow-up will hit theaters in Japan shortly after the first. Part two is slated to hit theaters on February 11, 2012 which comes a little more than a month after the first Sailor Moon Eternal film's release.
This delay may disappoint some fans eager to check out the movie, but Sailor Moon Eternal deserves its best shot at the box office. The film is a highly anticipated one as it promises to revive the franchise for a new generation. Its theatrical release is a big deal, so it doesn't make sense to throw it on the big screen if no one wants to visit theaters.
Currently, select theaters in Japan are open. The decision to reopen came after a number of cities including Tokyo allowed their State of Emergency to lapse last month. Despite an influx of positive COVID-19 cases, theaters are open in Japan and screening old films as a way to get audiences comfortable with their visit. Films from Studio Ghibli have enticed audiences into seats as of late, and other franchise-specific movies have performed well too.