It's difficult to overstate the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on the movie industry, as every release date delay is seeing studios being forced to make drastic decisions, with a recent press release from Disney confirming that the Marvel Cinematic Universe film The Eternals would no longer be hitting theaters in November so that Black Widow could secure that slot. This means that Eternals will now be hitting theaters on February 12, 2021 and Black Widow will open on November 6th. Given that Marvel Studios announced a full slate of release dates last summer, one delayed project sends a ripple through all future releases, with nearly every planned theatrical release now earning a new release date.
The release slate of the MCU now appears as follows:
- Black Widow - November 6th
- The Eternals - February 12, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings - May 7, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - November 5, 2021
- Thor: Love And Thunder - February 18, 2022
- Black Panther 2 - May 6, 2022
- Captain Marvel 2 - July 8, 2022
The frequency at which Marvel Studios releases films will at least somewhat alleviate fans' disappointment, knowing that each release date will still see the debut of a new installment into the franchise, despite a longer wait for specific titles. Disney's Jungle Cruise, for example, will no longer be hitting theaters this summer and has been pushed back to next summer, much like how the highly anticipated F9 was also delayed by a full year to optimize its release.
Making matters possibly even more complicated is the fact that no one has fully grasped the extent of the pandemic and these new release dates likely come with the assumption that it will be subsiding in the coming weeks. While the world is hopeful that this will be the case, it's entirely likely that things will continue for months, potentially requiring an all-new schedule of release dates.
The only relief that comes with these delays is knowing that they all reflect public safety and have nothing to do with the quality of any of the films, as films that are delayed to compensate for reshoots or major tweaks often come with disappointing results. The Eternals VFX team even recently revealed that, despite the coronavirus, they were still working remotely to complete the film while everyone is quaranting themselves.
The Eternals opens on February 12, 2021.
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