- Disney was forced to delay Marvel’s Black Widow indefinitely when it became clear the coronavirus pandemic would keep movie theaters shut through at least May 1st.
- Days after delaying Black Widow, Disney announced new release dates for all of the Phase 4 MCU movies, with Black Widow coming first on November 6th.
- The Eternals, Doctor Strange 2, Thor 4, and more all received new release dates as well.
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One of the unforeseen consequences of a global pandemic the likes of the novel coronavirus is that movie studios are forced to reschedule all of their releases on account of the fact that theaters all around the world are closed. Even the seemingly unstoppable force that is Disney has scrapped its plans and started over from scratch, which has resulted in some movies releasing digitally earlier than expected, and others being delayed for months.
Black Widow’s delay was perhaps the most notable, as it was going to serve as a bridge of sorts into Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But with the production of every show and movie being put on hold, it seemed inevitable that the entire MCU schedule would shift alongside Black Widow. On Friday, Disney confirmed that this would indeed be the case, as every upcoming Marvel movie has officially been pushed back.
According to Deadline, Black Widow is moving from its original May 1st release date to take the November 6th slot, which was previously held by The Eternals. The chain reaction continues like so:
- The Eternals will take Shang-Chi’s February 12th, 2021 release date
- Shang-Chi will take Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’s May 7th, 2021 date
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will take November 5th from Thor: Love and Thunder
- Thor: Love and Thunder will move to February 18th, 2022 in place of a currently untitled Marvel movie
- Black Panther 2 hasn’t moved from May 8th, 2022, and Captain Marvel 2 hits theaters on July 8th, 2022
In effect, the entire MCU has been delayed six months, give or take. Although there have been “nonsensical fanboy rumors” (as Deadline calls them) that some of these feature films would be released on Disney+ or digital storefronts in order to stay on schedule, Disney will lose unthinkable amounts of money if it opts to skip out on theatrical releases and sell these potential billion-dollar blockbusters for $20, $30, or even $40 a pop online.
That said, if November rolls around and the prospect of walking into a movie theater is still off the table, will Disney push Black Widow back even further? There are multiple Marvel Studios projects currently sitting in limbo as TV and film crews can’t do their jobs until the coronavirus has been controlled or eliminated, but Black Widow is already in the can. Hopefully we won’t have to find out what happens if the theaters are still closed on November 6th, but it certainly presents Disney with another series of difficult decisions if it becomes reality.