Disney and Marvel are holding fast to their release date for Black Widow despite the growing concern over Coronavirus. Deadline reported that the company is unlikely to push back the big stand-alone Scarlett Johansson feature. May 1st is still scheduled to be the big day for the film and Universal is taking a similar approach with Fast & Furious 9 on May 22nd. There were some rumors that Marvel could have pushed Black Widow into The Eternals slot in November, but they are pushing ahead. Foreign markets have been a huge part of why the Marvel films and big tentpole fare like Fast & Furious have soared to such heights in recent years. It remains to be seen what will happen if you take those countries out of the bigger picture. Warner Bros. is also sticking to their plans for Wonder Woman 1984 in June as well.
Former Disney CEO Bob Iger addressed the possibility of the Coronavirus having a big effect on their plans this year on CNBC last month. “At this point, our parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong are shut down. We don’t know for how long. Without knowing for how long, it’s difficult to tell…This is something that’s a big concern to us. We have thousands of people that work for us in that area of the world. We have concerns for them, we have concerns for the world and the people of China, of course.”
“All of the movie companies that are expecting to distribute movies coming up in China, obviously are impacted by this,” he added. “Again, it is hard to tell. We have a release coming out in March, Mulan, which obviously would have been of great interest to China. It will eventually get into China, at this point, we’re not sure when. Obviously, the big issue on everybody’s mind and everyone’s concern is what’s going on with this virus. And how far will it go in terms of its impact on people.”
Disney has already postponed the China opening of Mulan and there might be more shuffling of the schedule should Onward not perform as expected. This all comes on the heels of many different events outright shuttering their operations temporarily or sporting events opting not to have live crowds until the threats can be assessed. It’s a period of uncertainty all across the world as officials in multiple countries try to wrestle with the prospect of having to alter the fabric of public events for a while until things get a bit more under control.