Marvel has pulled the release of Black Widow, including in Australia.
The superhero blockbuster starring Scarlett Johansson is the latest casualty of the spate of films being disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has also included, most notably, No Time To Die, Fast & Furious 9, Mulan and Peter Rabbit 2.
Disney, which owns Marvel, has also delayed The Woman in the Window, a psychological thriller starring Amy Adams.
Both Black Widow and The Woman in the Window haven’t been rescheduled but news.com.au understands Disney is looking at dates in 2020.
The Australian release of The Secret Garden, distributed by StudioCanal, has also been delayed.
Black Widow’s delay is likely to have flow-on effects for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is meticulously planned years in advance and where movies cross over or reference each other.
The film is set between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War – and because it’s a prequel-of-sorts, and the first film of the MCU Phase Four, it was widely expected to set up upcoming Marvel properties.
Black Widow wrapped filming in London late last year. Several Marvel TV shows and films currently in production have been suspended. Shang-Chi, which is filming at Sydney’s Fox Studios, halted production last week when director Destin Daniel Cretton went into self-isolation.
Filming on three Marvel streaming shows slated for the Disney+ platform – Loki, WandaVision and The Falcon and Winter Soldier – have all been suspended.
Filming on Neighbours has been suspended after a casual working on production came into contact with a person infected with COVID-19.
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As more and more countries enter lockdown, cinemas worldwide have been shuttering, making it all but impossible for movie studios to release new titles.
Cinemas in Australia, not yet required to close, have instituted measures to abide by government rules around mass gatherings. For example, the Dendy chain has dropped to maximum 50 per cent capacity in every session.
Among many industries affected by coronavirus, the arts and entertainment industry is likely to suffer through tens of billions of dollars in losses.
Some entertainment companies have reacted by changing its home entertainment release strategy.
Disney released Frozen 2 three months early on its streaming platform Disney+.
Universal has said it will release several of its current in-cinemas titles on video-on-demand for audiences at home – but this is only in the US and select international markets and doesn’t appear to be available in Australia.
In the US, Warner Bros has said it will expedite the video-on-demand release for Birds of Prey and The Gentleman. Roadshow, which distributes Warner Bros films in Australia, has been contacted for comment.
Today is also the last day you can catch Military Wives in cinemas in Australia, which was only released last Thursday. Local distributor Transmission announced it would pull the film from release after March 18, to be re-released later in the year.