A comprehensive timeline of COVID-19’s impact on Hollywood and the entertainment industry (Updated till 5 July 2020)

Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Dom (Vin Diesel) in Fast & Furious 9, directed by Justin Lin.
Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Dom (Vin Diesel) in Fast & Furious 9, one of the many films this year that has been affected by the coronavirus.

Hey there, how has it been?

It’s been a hot minute since I last saw you (and by “hot minute”, I mean “my blog is now an overgrown jungle of weeds”). In that time, the world’s turned topsy-turvy due to the coronavirus, aka COVID-19.

Since this is a movie blog, I’ll recap how it slowly made its way into the world of entertainment, but you can see this trajectory mirrored in industries everywhere. It’s been astonishing to read the headlines everyday and see how the industry (and the world) gradually shifted from a dismissive attitude of “Coronavirus? Pffft, this is a problem only in Asia” to “THE SKY IS FALLING, MUST STOCK UP ON TOILET PAPER!!!” — all in the span of less than two weeks.

(Note: This post only chronicles developments up to 5 July 2020, because the pandemic has lasted way too long to keep track of. Some of the dates may be a bit muddled, because of the time differences across the countries, but I’ll do my best to keep them straight. For simplicity’s sake, all release dates mentioned are US release dates. I’ve included all that I consider as key events, but the virus has bulldozed its way through a gazillion things and 2020 is now basically cancelled, so I may miss out a few.)

Early Jan 2020

The coronavirus begins spreading in the city of Wuhan in the Hubei province of China.

23 Jan 2020

In a bid to stop people from congregating in cinemas during Chinese New Year (the peak moviegoing period in China) and worsening the spread of the virus, major Chinese studios announce that they are pulling out seven major CNY blockbusters, essentially leaving Chinese cinemas with nothing to play and being forced to close during CNY:

  1. Stanley Tong’s action comedy Vanguard starring Jackie Chan
  2. Dante Lam’s action thriller The Rescue starring Eddie Peng
  3. Hit comedy sequel Detective Chinatown 3
  4. Xu Zheng’s comedy Lost in Russia
  5. Sports epic Leap starring Gong Li
  6. Jiang Zi Ya: Legend of Deification (from the studio that produced the surprise fantasy animation hit Nezha)
  7. Boonie Bears: The Wild Life

CNY box offices of Asian countries with a large Chinese population and which were showing some, if not all of these films, were thus affected.

Jackie Chan in Vanguard
Jackie Chan in what was meant to be a Chinese New Year blockbuster, Vanguard. With productions shut down everywhere indefinitely, could this year’s CNY movies be delayed till next year’s CNY to fill up the slate?

24 Jan 2020

China shutters large swathes of its cinemas, followed soon by a nationwide closure.

Late Jan onwards

The escalating COVID-19 crisis in China and the reverberations as the virus slowly made its way into surrounding countries and the rest of the world result in people being more wary of going out in public into enclosed spaces. Box office takings in Asian countries start to plummet.

24 Feb 2020

As the no. of cases rise in Italy, Mission: Impossible VII, which had planned a 3-week shoot in Italy, halts production.

Entertainment stocks tumble as the coronavirus crisis spreads across the globe.

Half of Italian cinemas close due to coronavirus.

Late Feb 2020

Industry media start to speculate if US cinemas will close, but conclude that the future remains uncertain and it’ll be an unprecedented move.

29 Feb 2020

The French government issues a ban on indoor gatherings of more than 5,000 people.

2 Mar 2020

Analysts begin estimating the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the global film industry. Initial estimates put it at a US$5 billion loss.

3 Mar 2020

Disney Plus cancels European media launch event amid escalating coronavirus crisis in Europe.

4 Mar 2020

Hollywood begins limiting business travel and in-person meetings.

MipTV, the international television conference held in Cannes every April, is cancelled. Canneseries, the competitive television festival, is moved to October 9. The Cannes Film Fest/Film Market is still scheduled to go ahead in May.

5 Mar 2020

Bond movie No Time to Die moves from 10 April to 25 November due to coronavirus fears, as it would have diminished its international box office sales. (Do keep in mind that at this time, most people in the US were still unbothered about the virus, and Donald Trump was still reiterating his hopes and dreams that “One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”)

Daniel Craig as James Bond in 'No Time to Die', postponed by the coronavirus
Daniel Craig as 007 in No Time to Die, which has been to postponed to November.

The French government extends ban on gatherings of over 5,000 people to 31 May, raising alarm for the Cannes Film Festival/Film Market which attracted over 12,000 people last year.

6 Mar 2020

SXSW is cancelled, after major companies like Netflix, Amazon and Apple started pulling out of the fest in the days before.

The Cannes Film Festival sends out a “defiant PR message” that things are still in motion to launch the festival in May.

8 Mar 2020

Italy shutters its cinemas, which were already suffering a precipitious box office decline since the virus hit.

France bans gatherings of more than 1000 people. The Cannes Film Festival organisers say they are still going ahead.

9 Mar 2020

Italy announces a nationwide lockdown.

10 Mar 2020

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway is postponed from April to 7 August to avoid coronavirus disruption on global box office.

Disney Plus’ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier which had been shooting in Prague halts production after the Czech government placed a ban on movie screenings, elementary and high school classes, sports matches, and cultural events. They are the first TV production to stop filming, with other TV studios taking a wait-and-see approach.

Coachella, originally scheduled to begin on 10 April, is postponed till October.

11 Mar 2020

The World Health Organisation officially declares COVID-19 a pandemic.

Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson announce that they have contracted coronavirus.

Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson at the 92nd Academy Awards
Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson at the 92nd Academy Awards. The news of them contracting coronavirus, together with the WHO declaring it a pandemic, is the turning point of Americans actually taking the virus seriously and realising that no one is immune. (Photo by Amy Sussman – © 2020 Getty Images)

Survey results show Americans are still split whether movie theaters should be closed.

Poland announces shutdown of all cinemas, schools, universities, theaters and museums from 12 March.

Cannes Film Festival president still “reasonably optimistic” that the festival will go ahead in May, but will cancel if the situation doesn’t improve.

One week after CinemaCon, the largest trade gathering of movie theater owners from around the world, decided to move ahead with enhanced precautionary measures amid coronavirus worries, CinemaCon is cancelled.

The NBA suspends its season. This is followed gradually by other major live sports events cancelling/postponing the remainder of their seasons in the following days.

Most NYC late-night shows plan to tape without live studio audiences beginning Monday 16 March.

Hollywood agencies offer voluntary work-from-home options.

12 Mar 2020

With a week to go before A Quiet Place Part II was to release in cinemas on 20 March, Paramount announces that the movie will be postponed indefinitely. It also announces Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae’s comedy The Lovebirds will be delayed. (The Lovebirds is later sold to Netflix.)

It starts a wave of release date pull-outs:

Full list of release date changes:

  • A Quiet Place Part II – TBD (from 20 Mar 2020)
  • The Lovebirds – TBD on Netflix (from 3 Apr 2020)
  • Fast & Furious 9 – 2 Apr 2021 (from 22 May 2020)
  • Mulan – TBD (from 27 Mar 2020)
  • Antlers – TBD (from 17 Apr 2020)
  • The New Mutants – TBD (from 3 Apr 2020)
Mulan star Liu Yifei at the world premiere of Mulan on 11 Mar 2020
Mulan star Liu Yifei at the World Premiere in Los Angeles on 10 Mar 2020, two days before the release was pulled. (Photo by Amy Sussman – © 2020 Getty Images)

US movie theaters battle to stay open by reducing capacity, introducing seat separation and increasing frequency of cleaning.

UK movie theatres try to paint a positive picture even as their stocks are down.

Disneyland, Disney World and Universal Studios to close beginning 14 March. This is only the 4th time in its history that Disneyland has closed, the last time being after the 9/11 attacks.

Hollywood agencies begin to close their offices and make working from home mandatory. Other Hollywood companies also begin to encourage remote work effective immediately.

LA-based late-night shows follow NYC late-night shows lead to go without live studio audiences beginning 16 March.

Broadway shuts down after New York governor bans gatherings over 500.

As Broadway shuts down, NYC-based Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Late Night With Seth Meyers and Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon decide to speed up decision to tape without live studio audiences effective immediately. Later that night, all three shows suspend production due to the state of emergency declared in New York City. Other talk shows soon follow.

Networks and studios begin shutting down TV productions over the next few days.

13 Mar 2020

Disney stops all live-action film productions, including Shang-Chi: Legend of the Ten Rings, The Little Mermaid, the Home Alone reboot and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro’s follow-up to The Shape of Water). Other studios soon follow suit over the course of the next few days.

France bans gatherings of more than 100 people. Industry watchers still awaiting impact on Cannes.

Spain, France and Berlin join Italy, Poland, Denmark, Norway and Greece in shuttering their cinemas. Sweden, Finland and Belgium to follow suit soon.

Analysts estimate US$20 billion impact on Hollywood.

The English Premier League is suspended.

14 Mar 2020

Marvel Studios pauses production on its Disney Plus shows WandaVision and Loki, joining The Falcon and the Winter Soldier which had stopped production a few days ago.

I suppose this means they can’t make their scheduled air dates anymore? 🙁 The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was supposed to start airing in August on Disney Plus, and WandaVision in December, but if they can’t finish production, they’ll have to be delayed.

The Cannes Film Fest continues denying reports that it will cancel the festival, despite the French government limiting public gatherings to under 100 people.

16 Mar 2020

The Met Gala is postponed.

France announces a nationwide lockdown.

Malaysia announces a nationwide lockdown beginning 18 March.

In place of late-night broadcasts, Stephen Colbert is the first late-night show host to record videos from home and post them online. He is followed soon by everyone else.

Stephen Colbert’s first Late Show monologue from home on 16 Mar 2020.

With many US theaters closing or operating at reduced capacity, Universal Pictures is the first to break theatrical windows and make its currently showing theatrical releases — including Trolls World Tour, which is showing in several parts of the world but not yet open in the US — available on demand at the same. Other studios soon follow suit.

India announces shutdown of all film, TV, advertising and web series shoots in the country starting 19 March.

17 Mar 2020

Thailand announces they are closing cinemas and other entertainment facilities in Bangkok and immediate surrounding districts; will postpone national holiday Songkran in April.

AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas and more theatres in the US announce they are shutting down after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended new guidelines that limit social gatherings to less than 10 people.

Movie theatres in the UK and Ireland also follow suit to close their doors.

Disney then announces they are pulling Marvel Studios’ Black Widow indefinitely. The studio also pulled the Dev Patel-led drama The Personal History of David Copperfield and Amy Adams’ domestic thriller The Woman in the Window.

Later in the evening, Lionsgate announces they are pulling out horror franchise Saw reboot Spiral starring Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Rock, Janelle Monae’s time-travel horror Antebellum and Sarah Paulson’s horror-thriller Run.

Full list of release date changes:

  • Black Widow – TBD (from 1 May 2020)
  • The Personal History of David Copperfield – TBD (from 8 May 2020)
  • The Woman in the Window – TBD (from 15 May 2020)
  • Spiral: From the Book of Saw – TBD (from 15 May 2020)
  • Antebellum – TBD (from 24 Apr 2020)
  • Run – TBD (from 8 May 2020)

UEFA announces they will postpone the Euro Cup to 2021.

Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in Black Widow, originally opening 1 May in the US, now TBD.

18 Mar 2020

US movie theater owners ask Congress for bailout amid unprecedented closures.

19 Mar 2020

Universal announces that they will pull Minions: The Rise of Gru from its 3 July release date because the shutdown of Illumination’s Paris studio renders them unable to complete the film on time.

The Cannes Film Fest, after waffling for weeks, finally decides to postpone the fest that was set to begin 12-23 May. It is considering new dates in the end of June or the beginning of July.

22 Mar 2020

Cinemas across Australia and New Zealand close after the Australian PM orders a shutdown of all non-essential services from 23 March.

24 Mar 2020

India announces a nationwide lockdown.

Singapore announces that they will close all cinemas and other public entertainment venues from 26 March, 11.59pm to 30 April.

The International Olympic Committee announces that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed.

Photo by Bryan Turner on Unsplash

Warner Bros announces that they will postpone Wonder Woman 1984 from 5 June to 14 August. Animated Scooby-Doo movie Scoob!, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical In the Heights and James Wan’s horror film Malignant will be delayed indefinitely.

Full list of release date changes:

  • Wonder Woman 1984 – 14 Aug 2020 (from 5 Jun 2020)
  • Scoob! – TBD (from 15 May 2020)
  • In the Heights – TBD (from 26 Jun 2020)
  • Malignant – TBD (from 14 Aug 2020)

25 Mar 2020

AMC Theatres, the largest cinema chain in the US and in the world, furloughs all 600 corporate employees, including CEO Adam Aron.

26 Mar 2020

While cinemas in remote areas have tentatively opened in the past week, China intends to reopen over 200 cinemas in Shanghai, the first major metropolis to do so.

27 Mar 2020

China reverses decision to reopen cinemas and shuts down all cinemas again.

29 Mar 2020

The IOC announces new dates for the Tokyo Olympics — 23 July to 8 August 2021 — almost exactly a year from their original start date of 24 July to 9 August 2020.

30 Mar 2020

Sony makes major changes to all their 2020 release dates, moving most of their biggest titles into 2021. Full list of changes is below.

  • Tom Hanks’ WWII submarine drama Greyhound – TBD (from 12 Jun 2020)
  • Kevin Hart’s single dad drama Fatherhood – 23 Oct 2020 (from 15 Jan 2021)
  • Animated family comedy Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway – 15 Jan 2021 (from 7 Aug 2020)
  • Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife – 5 Mar 2021 (from 10 Jul 2020)
  • Jared Leto’s Sony/Marvel Morbius – 19 Mar 2021 (from 31 Jul 2020)
  • Tom Holland’s video game adaptation Uncharted – 8 Oct 2021 (from 5 Mar 2021)
  • Untitled Sony/Marvel – TBD (from 8 Oct 2021)
From L-R: Original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, Carrie Coon, Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard and director Jason Reitman behind the scenes of Ghostbusters: Afterlife
From left: Original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, Carrie Coon, Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard and director Jason Reitman behind the scenes of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, now postponed to March 2021

Disney announces pay cuts for their senior executives. CEO turned executive chairman Bob Iger will forgo his salary while the salary waiver is in effect, while new CEO Bob Chapek will take a 50% pay cut.

1 April 2020

Wimbledon, scheduled to run from 29 June to 12 July, has been cancelled. It is the first time since WWII that the tournament will not be held.

Comcast CEO and senior leaders in the Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky family announce they will donate their salaries to COVID-19 relief efforts for the duration of the situation.

Universal pushes back release for Minions: The Rise of Gru to 2021, while Sing 2 will move to Dec 2021. The long-gestating Wicked adaptation, which has been in development since the musical became a hit in 2003, will continue gestating.

  • Minions: The Rise of Gru – 2 Jul 2021 (from 3 Jul 2020)
  • Sing 2 – 22 Dec 2021 (from 2 Jul 2021)
  • Wicked – TBD (from 22 Dec 2021)

Comic-Con organisers taking wait-and-see approach; still on for 23-26 July despite coronavirus fears.

2 April 2020

Paramount pushes Top Gun: Maverick to Christmas, redates A Quiet Place Part II in September. The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run and Chris Pratt’s sci-fi fantasy The Tomorrow War also see changes.

  • Top Gun: Maverick – 23 Dec 2020 (from 24 Jun 2020)
  • A Quiet Place Part II – 4 Sep 2020 (from TBD, previously 20 Mar 2020)
  • The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run – 31 Jul 2020 (from 22 May 2020)
  • The Tomorrow War – TBD (from 25 Dec 2020)

3 April 2020

Universal and MGM shifts their June date for Jordan Peele’s horror movie Candyman, while Disney makes changes to their entire release slate. Full details below.

  • Candyman – 25 Sep 2020 (from 12 Jun 2020)
  • Edgar Wright’s drama thriller Last Night in Soho – TBD (from 25 Sep 2020)
  • Mulan – 24 Jul 2020 (from TBD, previously 27 Mar 2020)
  • Sci-fi fantasy Artemis FowlWill debut on Disney Plus (previously 29 May 2020 in cinemas)
  • The Rock and Emily Blunt’s adventure movie Jungle Cruise – 30 Jul 2021 (from 24 Jul 2020)
  • Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch – 16 Oct 2020 (from 24 Jul 2020)
  • Ryan Reynolds’ action comedy Free Guy – 11 Dec 2020 (from 3 Jul 2020)
  • Black Widow – 6 Nov 2020 (from TBD, previously 1 May 2020)
  • The Eternals – 12 Feb 2021 (from 6 Nov 2020)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – 7 May 2021 (from 12 Feb 2021)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – 5 Nov 2021 (from 7 May 2021)
  • Thor: Love And Thunder – 18 Feb 2022 (from 5 Nov 2021)
  • Indiana Jones 5 – 29 Jul 2022 (from 9 Jul 2021)
Marvel Studios' presentation at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Marvel Studios’ presentation at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images). Everything is shifted due to the coronavirus.

Advertising festival Cannes Lions is cancelled.

6 April 2020

Cineworld, the world’s second largest cinema chain, will suspend payment of dividends to shareholders, while the company’s executive directors agree to defer salary and bonus payments during this COVID-19 period.

7 April 2020

Japan declares a state of emergency. Cinemas are one of the places to be closed.

8 April 2020

Disney+ announces that it has hit 50 million paid subscribers worldwide, despite launching only 5 months ago, and still in the early stages of its global rollout. It is unclear if the numbers were boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to stay home.

9 April 2020

Analysts predict that AMC Theatres, the world’s largest cinema chain, will have to file for bankruptcy soon if the pandemic does not abate by June/July.

Furloughs hit Disney’s film studio employees whose “jobs aren’t necessary at this time”.

13 April 2020

France announces lockdown will be extended to mid-May, all festivals banned till mid-July. This will affect the Cannes Film Festival, which has been considering new dates in the end of June or the beginning of July. It will also affect the Tour de France, which was scheduled for 27 June to 19 July.

Disney moves Soul, the last summer holdout, from June to November. This leaves no tentpoles opening until Christopher Nolan’s Tenet opens in mid-late July.

  • Soul – 20 Nov 2020 (from 19 Jun 2020)
  • Raya and the Last Dragon – 12 Mar 2021 (from 25 Nov 2020)
Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey in 'Soul' movie
Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey in Soul, originally opening 19 Jun in the US, now 20 Nov.

14 April 2020

Following French president Emmanuel Macron’s announcement of France’s ban on festivals till mid-May, Cannes organisers have postponed the festival again, but are exploring other options to make it work.

The Tour de France is also postponed from a late June start date to 29 August.

Paramount moves Mark Wahlberg’s reincarnation sci-fi actioner Infinite out of early August and slots in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run to replace it.

  • Infinite – 28 May 2021 (from 7 Aug 2020)
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run – 7 Aug 2020 (from 31 Jul 2020; previously 22 May 2020)

17 April 2020

Annual pop culture fandom mecca San Diego Comic-Con announces its first cancellation in its 50-year history. It will return next year.

20 April 2020

Due to the production halts caused by COVID-19 and inability to meet deadlines, Warner Bros pushes back Matt Reeves and Robert Pattison’s The Batman by 4 months to October 2021, and does a major reshuffling of its future release slate.

  • The Batman – 1 Oct 2021 (from 25 Jun 2020)
  • The Many Saints of Newark – 12 Mar 2021 (from 25 Sep 2020)
  • The Flash – 2 Jun 2022 (from 1 Jul 2022)
  • Shazam 2 – 4 Nov 2022 (from 1 Apr 2022)
  • Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic – 5 Nov 2021 (from 1 Oct 2021)
  • Will Smith’s sports drama King Richard – 19 Nov 2021 (from 25 Nov 2020)

21 April 2020

Venom sequel delays release to 25 Jun 2021 after The Batman moved out of that date a day earlier. Its official title is now Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights also lands a new date next year after being pulled from the summer release calendar last month.

Following the footsteps of Trolls World Tour and Artemis Fowl, Warner Bros will bypass a theatrical release and send Scoob! straight to premium on-demand.

  • Venom: Let There Be Carnage – 25 Jun 2021 (from 2 Oct 2020)
  • In the Heights – 18 Jun 2021 (from TBD, previously 26 Jun 2020)
  • Scoob! – Will be available on demand on 15 May 2020 (its previous theatrical date)

While some Southern US states are giving businesses the go-ahead to reopen as early as 27 April, the National Association of Theater Owners in the US warns against reopening too early due to the dearth of new wide release movies until July.

Image of a movie theater in Birmingham, Alabama closed due to COVID-19.
A movie theater in Birmingham, Alabama closed due to COVID-19. (Photo by Mariah Hewines on Unsplash)

24 April 2020

AMC Theatres confirms they will not reopen till there is new studio product available. That will not be until Warner Bros’ Tenet opens on 17 Jul and Disney’s Mulan on 24 Jul.

More release date changes from Paramount Pictures, affecting the Mission: Impossible sequels. The latest one was forced to halt its production shoot in late February due to the outbreak in Italy.

Sony also does a massive overhaul of its slate, moving its two Spider-Man sequels as well as others. Disney also reshuffles Thor: Love and Thunder and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

  • Mission: Impossible 7 – 19 Nov 2021 (from 23 Jul 2021)
  • Mission: Impossible 8 – 4 Nov 2022 (from 5 Aug 2022)
  • The Tomorrow War – 23 Jul 2021 (from TBD, previously 25 Dec 2020)
  • Dungeons & Dragons – 27 May 2022 (from 19 Nov 2021)
  • Spider-Man: Far from Home sequel – 5 Nov 2021 (from 16 Jul 2021)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel – 7 Oct 2022 (from 8 Apr 2022)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder – 11 Feb 2022 (from 18 Feb 2022, previously 5 Nov 2021)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – 25 Mar 2022 (from 5 Nov 2021, previously 7 May 2021)
  • Animated family comedy Connected – 23 Oct 2020 (from 18 Sep 2020)
  • Thriller Escape Room 2 – 1 Jan 2021 (from 14 Aug 2020)
  • Kevin Hart drama Fatherhood – 2 Apr 2021 (from 23 Oct 2020)
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda’s animated musical adventure Vivo – 4 Jun 2021 (from 16 Apr 2021)
  • Tom Holland’s video game adaptation Uncharted – 16 Jul 2021 (from 8 Oct 2021, previously 5 Mar 2021)
  • Woody Harrelson and Kevin Hart action comedy The Man from Toronto – 17 Sep 2021 (from 20 Nov 2020)
  • Animated family comedy Hotel Transylvania 4 – 6 Oct 2021 (from 22 Dec 2021)
  • WWII coming-of-age sisters drama The Nightingale – TBD (from 25 Dec 2020)

27 April 2020

With most cinemas remaining closed in June, Universal’s The King of Staten Island is the next film to skip theatres and go straight to premium VOD on 12 Jun, one week before it was to debut in cinemas on 19 Jun.

28 April 2020

After NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell revealed that Trolls World Tour earned an estimated US$100 million in premium VOD rentals and that they expect to release films in both theaters and premium VOD in future, theater owners took offense, with AMC Theatres — the largest cinema circuit in the world — refusing to play Universal films until Universal backs down from their position in future.

Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, which is at the centre of the windows controversy between Universal Pictures and movie exhibitors

The Oscars and the Golden Globe Awards make temporary rule changes to eligibility to account for COVID-19’s closures of cinemas and screening rooms and films cancelling their planned theatrical releases.

France’s reveals reopening plan that will have cinemas remain closed till June at least, and large gatherings like the Cannes Film Festival banned until September at least — ill news for Cannes which has been postponed twice and is looking extremely unlikely to happen at all.

29 April 2020

European cinema owners also weigh in unhappily on Universal’s proclamation that they will release films in both theaters and premium VOD in future, while Cineworld — the 2nd-largest cinema circuit in the world — joins AMC Theatres in boycotting films that do not respect a 90-day window period between the start of the theatrical release and being available on video-on-demand.

The head of China’s film bureau says China’s cinemas are expected to reopen in early June.

30 April 2020

Acknowledging the Trolls World Tour windows controversy and war of words with exhibitors, NBCUniversal Jeff Shell reaffirms theatrical releases as central element to business, but premium VOD as complementary, depending on how the business is going to be like when the crisis is over and each film’s unique circumstances.

Sony pushes Dakota and Elle Fanning’s WWII coming-of-age drama The Nightingale to 22 Dec 2021, after COVID-19 delays production. It was previously scheduled for 25 Dec 2020.

1 May 2020

Norway announces they will allow cinemas to reopen 7 May with 50-person capacity per screen, while the Czech Republic will reopen cinemas on 11 May with a 100-person capacity limit, two weeks ahead of the government’s previous 25 May target.

Lionsgate re-dates Janelle Monae’s time-travel horror Antebellum and a slew of other postponed titles.

  • Antebellum – 21 Aug 2020 (from TBD, previously 24 Apr 2020)
  • Horror franchise reboot Spiral: From the Book of Saw – 21 May 2021 (from TBD, previously 15 May 2020)
  • Keanu Reeves’ John Wick: Chapter 4 – 27 May 2022 (from 21 May 2021)
  • Fatale – 30 Oct 2020 (from 19 Jun 2020)
  • Kristen Wiig comedy Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar – 16 Jul 2021 (from 31 Jul 2020)
  • Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson’s action comedy sequel The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard – 20 Aug 2021 (from 28 Aug 2020)

3 May 2020

New report shows that Asia’s box office plunged by 88 percent in the 1st quarter due to COVID-19 closures and fears.

5 May 2020

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announces that cinemas in Hong Kong will be allowed to reopen from 8 May onwards.

7 May 2020

New Zealand government approves its health and safety production protocols, which means shoots can resume in New Zealand for productions halted there, such as the Avatar sequels and The Lord of the Rings Amazon TV series, once they’re ready.

The Czech Republic gives go-ahead to restart film and TV shoots that follow new coronavirus health and safety guidelines.

As Germany cautiously loosens its lockdown measures, Germany’s largest state will allow movie theatres to reopen on 30 May under strict hygiene and social distancing guidelines.

8 May 2020

Chinese authorities say Chinese cinemas may now reopen if they follow coronavirus prevention protocols. No actual orders have been given to open cinemas though, so they remain closed.

With unemployment at staggering numbers and live sports production at a standstill, pricey pay TV subscriber losses hit new quarterly record.

10 May 2020

The Cannes Film Fest organising committee just refuses to quit. While there won’t be a physical edition this year, they may screen a selection of films (without awarding prizes) under the banner of Cannes 2020 at several fall film festivals.

11 May 2020

Shanghai Disneyland reopens with strict public safety measures in place and at 30 percent capacity, with tickets for the first week’s reopening selling out within minutes when it went on sale on 8 May. It was the first of Disney’s theme parks to close in late January, and will offer a blueprint for the rest of Disney’s theme parks to reopen in other territories.

The UK government confirms that UK cinemas won’t reopen before 4 July at the earliest.

Korean cinemas test contact-free tech for the post-coronavirus era.

13 May 2020

Disney adds The New Mutants back into its release calendar for 28 August 2020. It had undated it on 12 March from its previous 3 April release date.

A summary of the cost-cutting measures enacted by Hollywood’s major conglomerates, as remarked in their 1st quarter earnings calls.

Poland’s government gives greenlight to resume film and TV productions from 18 May.

Iceland will open borders again to international travellers, including foreign film crews and talent, from 15 June.

14 May 2020

With cinemas closed for the foreseeable future, Amazon India acquires several highly-anticipated Indian blockbusters for their direct-to-streaming platform — including venerated actor Amitabh Bachchan’s dramatic comedy Gulabo Sitabo — incurring the wrath of Indian exhibitors.

15 May 2020

Japan’s cinemas begin partial reopening by playing Hollywood classics in the absence of new film products.

Universal Pictures undates The Forever Purge, the 5th movie in the Purge series, from its initial 10 July 2020 release date.

16 May 2020

Italy’s prime minister announces that Italian cinemas will be allowed to reopen from 15 June. Whether many cinemas will be operational by then is another matter.

19 May 2020

Oscars 2021 could be postponed due to COVID-19 affecting the theatrical schedule.

Sony sells Tom Hanks’ WWII submarine drama Greyhound to streaming service Apple TV+. Originally slated for a Father’s Day release in June, it was pulled from the release schedule on 30 March due to COVID-19 and remains undated.

The Met Gala, which was postponed on 16 March, has officially been cancelled this year.

20 May 2020

Productions, especially smaller independent productions, are having difficulty restarting due to their need to have insurance to start rolling, but insurers don’t want to take the risk of covering pandemic losses.

12 June 2020

Warner Bros makes another major round of changes to its release slate.

  • Wonder Woman 1984 – 2 Oct 2020 (from 14 Aug 2020, previously 5 Jun 2020)
  • Christopher Nolan’s Tenet – 31 Jul 2020 (from 17 Jul 2020)
  • Godzilla vs. Kong – 21 May 2021 (from 20 Nov 2020)
  • Tom and Jerry – 5 Mar 2021 (from 23 Dec 2020)
  • Roald Dahl’s The Witches adaptation – TBD (from 9 Oct 2020)
  • The Matrix 4 – 1 Apr 2022 (from 5 Mar 2021)

13 June 2020

James Bond film No Time to Die moves up its release date from 25 Nov 2020 to 20 Nov 2020 to take over the slot previously occupied by Godzilla vs. Kong.

18 June 2020

AMC Theatres plans to reopen most U.S. locations on 15 July.

24 June 2020

Disney reports that it would not get state clearance in time for Disneyland Anaheim’s proposed 17 July reopening, with a new date still up in the air, as coronavirus cases surge again in the U.S.

25 June 2020

Christopher Nolan’s Tenet delays its release for the second time to mid-August, after a spike in coronavirus cases in the U.S. make it unlikely that theatres in key U.S. markets will be able to open by end July.

26 June 2020

For the same reason that Tenet is delay its release for the second time, Mulan will also delay its release for the second time till late August, one week after Tenet opens.

29 June 2020

AMC Theatres postpones reopening plans to end of July following the spike in coronavirus cases in the U.S., and Tenet and Mulan pushing back their release dates to August.

Broadway will remain shut till January.

Cirque Du Soleil files for bankruptcy protection amid pandemic.

30 June 2020

Cineworld and Cinemark, the second and third largest exhibitors in the U.S., also follow suit to postpone reopening plans to end July.

1 July 2020

California governor Gavin Newsom closes bars, theaters and indoor restaurant dining over most of the state again due to surging numbers in the state.

CAA closes its major LA, New York and Nashville offices till 2021 due to uptick in COVID-19 cases.

2 July 2020

The U.S. reports a record number of new coronavirus cases.

The BFI London Film Festival in October will shift to a virtual edition in 2020.

5 July 2020

The U.K. allows some film and TV productions such as Mission: Impossible 7 to be exempt from quarantine rules and resume filming this summer.

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